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Here Is Everything You Need To Know About Facebook’s News Ban In Australia

Here Is Everything You Need To Know About Facebook’s News Ban In Australia

It's been quite the day for Australian media today after Facebook has blocked Aussies from viewing or sharing local, national or international news - us too.

People are understandably freaking out because they rely on Facebook news content to get information about Covid-19, bushfires and everything else that's important.

It's all a bit confusing at the moment, so allow us to explain what's going on.

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Basically, the news ban means Aussies won't be able to get information about what's happening here or overseas, and everyone else won't get to see Aussie publishers' content.

The government wants to bring in a new law that will make Facebook pay publishers to host their content.

The government and Facebook have been warring for months over this and it looks like Facebook has followed through with their threat to cancel all news on their site for people inside Australia.

Facebook page on a handset
Facebook page on a handset
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In a blog post, Facebook announced it had made changes that will drastically affect the way Aussies consume news.

"The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content.

"It has left us facing a stark choice: attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter."

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The proposed law would also ask Google to pay for hosting links in its search engine, and Facebook says that's fine for Google, but not for them.

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"Our platforms have fundamentally different relationships with news," the blog post said. "Google Search is inextricably intertwined with news and publishers do not voluntarily provide their content.

"On the other hand, publishers willingly choose to post news on Facebook, as it allows them to sell more subscriptions, grow their audiences and increase advertising revenue."

Meanwhile, the Australian government has responded to Facebook's shock decision to ban Australian news outlets from sharing content on its platform, saying they won't be backing down on its media bargaining code.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the government 'will be maintaining the path that we've been following.'

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"They're basically saying to Australians: 'If you're looking for reliable news, Facebook is not the place to look for it'," he told 2GB Radio.

"It's certainly something that raises concern... the government will consider this very carefully."

While no one is too certain what might happen next, it's clear that it could take a while to finesse the ban.

Several organisations such as SA Health, Queensland Health, ACT Health and other pages providing crucial COVID information had been blocked on Facebook, however, Facebook has since reinstated emergency services, health and public information pages.

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So at this point, we will all just have to wait and see how this all pans out.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News, Facebook, Australia

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