It’s crazy how the world’s drama keeps on evolving every day. We have moved from the days of world war into the tramples of social media guerilla fare. Picture this, you wake up and log on to your favourite social media platform and you see nothing. You’re frantically reloading the page and you still see absolutely nothing. Well, users in Australia woke to empty news feeds on their Facebook pages today. This is after the social media giant blocked all media content in a surprise and dramatic escalation of a dispute with the government.
Facebook vs Australia: The Content Wars
Facebook’s move represents a split from Google after they joined together for years to campaign against the laws. Both had threatened to cancel services in Australia, but Google has instead sealed deals with several outlets in recent days.
The changes made by Facebook wiped clean pages operated by news outlets and removed posts by individual users sharing Australian news. The Facebook pages of Nine and News Corp were all blank. Also affected were several major state government accounts, including
- Those providing advice on the coronavirus pandemic
- Those providing advice on bushfire threats at the height of the summer season
- Scores of charity and non-governmental organisation accounts.
This raised an uproar within the community. For instance, Brianna Casy, chief executive of hunger relief charity Foodbank, could not hold her peace.
“Demand for food relief has never been higher than during this pandemic, and one of our primary comms tools to help connect people with #foodrelief info & advice is now unavailable.”
By mid-afternoon however, many government-backed Facebook pages were restored. Unfortunately, several charity pages and all media sites remained dark,. This is including those of international outlets like the New York Times, the BBC, News Corp’s Wall Street Journal, and Reuters.
How much do you rely on Facebook for news? Would this affect you?