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Facebook Purge

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Early today, countless news sites found that their posts on Facebook had been hidden, and that links to their sites were no longer able to be shared. This included Tasmanian Times. It also included informational sites and their FB pages like the Bureau of Meteorology and Australian Council of Trade Unions. The move by Facebook […]

Early today, countless news sites found that their posts on Facebook had been hidden, and that links to their sites were no longer able to be shared. This included Tasmanian Times. It also included informational sites and their FB pages like the Bureau of Meteorology and Australian Council of Trade Unions.

The move by Facebook was in response to the Australian parliament yesterday passing (in the House of Representatives) a bill to force large technology companies to ‘bargain for media’ they share, i.e. pay for news and information that appears on their platforms.

While Google has gone down the road of negotiating agreements with major media companies, Facebook has threatened to simply turn off the tap and remove the media. Their strategy appears to be to fight the legislation by creating the kind of nuisance that will force the government to back down. Facebook has not issued a statement today.

Our understanding is that small media enterprises, including ourselves, are unlikely to receive any money from the media bargaining code anyway. In that sense we are collateral damage in the governments attempt to divert money from big (foreign) tech companies to local media corporations, who presumably will be grateful for the lifeline. You don’t need to be a soothsayer to know that the government will call for return favours when necessary.

Independent journalist Michael West wrote today:

So, the government’s intervention to prop up News Corp, Nine and Seven – its friendly media outlets – is helping to destroy independent, innovative operators such as MW. We get no subsidies, only community support. We have been told by Google insiders that it is very unlikely we will get any payments under the Code.

On FB today we posted:

Obviously we are affected by Facebook, without warning, deciding to smack the media around. The government’s media bargaining code is skewed to favour large corporate media organisations…precisely the ones who make donations to political parties. TT is unlikely to receive a brass razoo under the scheme.

We will shortly be rolling out a crowdfunder so that the people of Tasmania can support the independent media that is necessary to the functioning of a fair, prosperous and inclusive society.

Please stay tuned for that. And as hard as it might be in the short term, we recommend you ditch Facebook. The company clearly lacks any kind of decency and commitment to an open and sustainable media landscape; it wants complete dominance, on its terms only. There are other ways to keep in touch with your friends and family.

This post, despite having no links to our site or indeed any other, is not visible. We are being censored. We are being bullied by a company using its power to silence those who disagree.

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An audience that had been built up over years is now denied us, through no fault of our own. Posted porn? Incited violence? Terrorist communications? No, none of those. Many epithets have been hurled at TT over the years, but jokes aside all we’ve done is chronicle the life and times of Tasmania.

If a social media platform treats its users this way, we want no part of it. Besides being an average user like everyone else, in the past year we have spent money boosting posts to reach a wider audience. Ironically, all of those posts that Facebook happily took our money for are now unavailable.

While the situation is fluid and Facebook may indeed walk back its position, we are now committed to leaving Facebook as a platform.

Chief Editor, Tasmanian Times


Media release – Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, 18 February 2021

STATEMENT ON THE FACEBOOK NEWS BAN

Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, says he’s surprised by the poor judgement shown by social media platform Facebook in removing Australian news content from its site.

“While I would certainly not recommend using Facebook as a primary source for credible and trustworthy news, it does fulfil a useful function for many by connecting them to reputable providers such as local newspapers and dedicated news websites,” he said today.

“For many users, it is often a first stop for easy access to important information like time-critical bushfire alerts, updates on COVID restrictions, and weather warnings issued by the Bureau of Meteorology.

“Denying users access to timely and accurate news because Facebook doesn’t want to share revenue with legitimate media outlets is nothing short of socially irresponsible.

“Given the ban has been timed to coincide with the passage of the media bargaining code through the Lower House of Federal Parliament, it is impossible to view this as anything other than a digital middle finger from a social media giant that clearly doesn’t want to play by the rules.

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“Being a big American company does not give Facebook the right to act like a bully or to think it is a law unto itself in Australia.”


Media release – Hobart Hurricanes, 18 February 2021

HOBART HURRICANES STATEMENT

Following Facebook’s announcement that they will be banning the viewing and sharing of news in Australia, as well as the viewing and sharing of Australian news internationally, the Hobart Hurricanes Facebook page has been rendered inactive.

Whilst we are fortunate that this has not happened mid-season, we are baffled as to why the Hurricanes have been caught up in this supposed ban on ‘media organisations’. We are also intrigued by the fact that five of the eight Big Bash League teams and the League’s page itself remain functional, with Facebook apparently deeming our page along with Brisbane Heat and the Perth Scorchers the only ‘newsworthy’ sites.

Hobart Hurricanes news and information will continue to be available online via hobarthurricanes.com.au and fans can continue to interact with us through Twitter and Instagram.

We are also fortunate that at this time all of our Cricket Tasmania digital channels – including our Facebook page – remain active.

Although this is potentially a very harmful move by Facebook – particularly in the time of a global pandemic – it is a timely reminder to us and all organisations who conduct so much of our business online the reality of the level of content we actually own.


Media release – Australian Medical Association, 18 February 2021

FACEBOOK DECISION TO REMOVE NEWS SOURCES IS CORPORATE BULLYING AT ITS WORST

Tech giant Facebook’s decision to remove official sources of information, including Federal and State Government health pages, is irresponsible corporate bullying during a global pandemic, AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said today.

“The world is battling the COVID-19 crisis, and Australia is days away from beginning the biggest mass vaccination program in our nation’s history,” Dr Khorshid said.

“Yet, to save itself from having to pay a few million dollars to Australian news organisations for the work their journalists do, Facebook has decided to punish all Australians by removing their access to news on its platform.

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“This irresponsible action – taken with no notice – has clearly had unintended consequences, with some health department pages taken down, but not others; with people unable to access the Bureau of Meteorology’s page on a day of bushfire and flood warnings.

“Facebook play a huge part in the lives of ordinary Australians and the company must take its responsibilities seriously.

“It is truly ironic that Facebook has allowed health misinformation to be spread via its platform throughout this pandemic, yet today much of this misinformation remains on Facebook while official information sources are blocked.

“The AMA calls on Facebook to restore public access to official information, and to stop putting the health of Australians at risk in order to bully the Australian Government.”


Media release – Cosmos, 18 February 2021

AUSSIE SCIENCE PUBLICATIONS BLOCKED BY FACEBOOK

At a time of pandemic, when we need credible science information like never before, Australian science publication COSMOS ( cosmosmagazine.com/ ) has been blocked by Facebook.

The Facebook block comes as part of government and publishing industry efforts to make tech giants contribute for the news content they have otherwise been sharing for free, while the creators of that content struggle to compete in a vastly altered media landscape.

“From our point of view, it’s simply not good for anyone if we’re not able to share facts,” notes Will Berryman, Executive Director of the Royal Institution of Australia, which publishes COSMOS.

“We hope that Facebook remedy this quickly, because we’re in the business of sharing important, science-based information at a critical time, and it serves no-one’s interest to have that lost and replaced by unchecked stories.”

Cosmos digital editor Ian Connellan added that the move strikes at the “free exchange of ideas”, which Facebook claims to defend.

“The Royal Institution of Australia is a not-for-profit and we deliver daily science news – and free science education resources – as part of our charter. We deliver a social dividend.

“There must be some middle ground that can be achieved here. The chief beneficiaries of this could well be conspiracy theorists … and right now we need to be able to share real science news, not the fake stuff.”

Source: Tasmanian Times https://www.tasmaniantimes.com/2021/02/facebook-purge/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=facebook-purge

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