Facebook’s news ban in Australia has major unintended consequences

Facebook’s news ban in Australia has major unintended consequences

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February 18, 2021

This morning Facebook implemented a ban on News sites sharing content to Australians. While the ban was in response to a Media Bargaining code that asked Facebook to fund legacy media’s failing business models, the response has been a severe ban on almost any brand that shared news.

Under the proposed legislation, only organisations with an income of more than $150,000 per year were going to be eligible for payment from Facebook and Google. Despite that, we’re now seeing the ban implemented and Facebook pages are being banned left and right.

Initially it seemed like users couldn’t share URLs from sites identified as providing news, but the we’re now seeing many pages with historical posts now removed.

The list of banned pages now includes:

  • Bureau of Meteorology
  • NSW Fire and Rescue
  • Multiple Universities
  • Queensland Health
  • Australian Wildlife Conservancy
  • Cricket Australia
  • RACQ
  • Harvey Norman
  • Even Facebook’s own page.

Unfortunately members of the Australian Government imagined the population of 25 million people, was going to win against a business that developed a platform that serves more than 1.5 Billion users worldwide.

The sad outcome here is that thousands of businesses in Australia are now impacted by a dramatic drop in traffic via Facebook. Perhaps the more disturbing aspect is the emergency services that used the Facebook audience to distribute critical information.

After the impacts of COVID-19 and multiple lock downs, this is the last thing Australian business needs. It’s time the Government swallowed their pride and backed off this Media Code.

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