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Q&A with the editors of Australia’s Betoota Advocate

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

“By a twist of cruel fate we’ve gone back to bloody writing online earning peanuts.”

The editors of Australia's most popular satirical news site, The Betoota Advocate, say they are "back to earning peanuts" after their page momentarily became one of today's casualties in Facebook's shock ban on Australian news.

When Facebook began to block all Australian news sites, it also blocked a number of state health pages, the Bureau of Meteorology, domestic violence services, and satirical news pages like Betoota and The Chaser.

After the Betoota Advocate Facebook page was blocked to its audience of some 800,000 people, editors Clancy Overell and Errol Parker told they found themselves in a tricky situation.

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What was your reaction to the shut down?

"We got turned off and then turned back on again so it did get scary there for a moment," Mr Overell told

"We thought we'd really have to lean our other social channels, but thankfully, by the grace of God, Facebook decided to let us get through the gates."

Despite the shock announcement, the editors of the Betoota Advocate had no trouble maintaining a sense of humour.

"When we did get turned back on, we thought that the late Kerry Packer was right in saying that social media and the internet is indeed just a passing fad," Mr Parker said.

"We were looking forward to going back to the old days of journalism, big days, company card, big lunches, long lunch breaks ... But by a twist of cruel fate we've gone back to bloody writing online earning peanuts."

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Did today's shutdown blur the lines of what is considered news?

"When the Bureau of Meterology got shut down that definitely blurs some lines about what is and isn't news," Mr Overell said.

"I thought when the BoM had their Facebook page closed down it was because of all the fake weather reports they've been doing.

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"I hopped off my jet plane here in Sydney and they'd said no rain and it's bloody pissing down."

"Not to mention all this alarmist climate change nonsense, maybe the Bureau deserves to be closed down."

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How important is social media in public interest journalism?

Mr Overell said while social media is an important part of their platform, they are confident news sites don't rely solely on Facebook to share their news.

"Social media does help because for whatever weird thing a journalist pulls out, it could be a kitten water skiing, social media is where you will find people who are interested in that. You're not going to get them through the traditional channels."

"As for the election results and the footy results, we have tried and true media (like) nightly news and papers, which people go to."

Source: 9News

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