News banned on Australian Facebook pages

Well, I honestly didn’t think it would happen, but as of this morning, there are no news stories on FB here in Australia.

Nothing to see here folks…

And in its zeal, FB has also managed to block a whole shitload of other sites, including our Bureau of Meteorology page (which issues major weather event warnings), the ABC Emergency Alert page, and even a Qld Health Dept Coronavirus Info page. Geez.

Today I finally got around to getting a twitter a/c. Might be spending less and less time on FB I imagine.

From the article:

Australia’s communications minister, Paul Fletcher, said the move raised questions about the credibility of information now available on Facebook.

“The decision they’re taking … is [to] remove all authoritative incredible news sources from the platform,” he told 2GB radio.

And I do so like to be kept up to date when there’s incredible news.

If I were Australian I literally wouldn’t notice these changes. Social media isn’t news and shouldn’t be used that way.

Yes, but people I follow on FB (various pollies, public figures etc) often link to news stories that I can then source from the horse’s mouth so to speak. I don’t have TIME to check every media outlet for current events happening. I do have The Guardian and the ABC websites that I read daily, but others tend to be overlooked unless I see a link on FB.

Fuck’s sake, they also banned one of my favourite local satire pages (yes, I already subscribe but loved being updated with links). The Betoota Advocate

Well I did, this is a global test case and like any monopolist FB likes those advertising “rivers of gold”. Not about to upset the global income stream over an obscure atoll in the Pacific.
Concur with @Kimera757, without resolutions/fiscal settlement this will revert FB to being a social media platform and probably isn’t a bad thing.
The smart young things will migrate to some other platform quick-smart.
Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

The smart young things already did. Facebook is for old farts.

Uncle Rupert directed this government to demand Facebook pay his rent and Facebook said no.

I have every sympathy for journalism’s financial problems, but arrogantly demanding that a website that is driving traffic to your website pay you for the privilege of helping you out isn’t the way.

Not sure that letting certain people curate the news you see is a way to get a balanced viewpoint.

So correct me if I am wrong…

The Australian Government told Facebook that they would have to pay Australian news media for linking to their sites or else…

And Facebook chose “or else”.

Sounds like the Australians got exactly what they asked for- no more linking to their sites without payment. Victory!

Only the first shot in a phoney war.

Google have already agreed to pay at least 60mil per annum for the same stuff.

Google want to build themselves up as a news source. I’m not so sure Facebook do.

Well, if Facebook’s own content becomes only family snaps, cute puppy videos and conspiracy theories, I guess we’ll see where the advertising dollar goes.

It’s an interesting situation - what the government is doing for old media organizations is effectively creating for them a new form of intellectual property - a right to payment for publicizing their intellectual property. I should really read the source law but I’m interested in where the lines are drawn.

At it’s simplest, if it’s saying that if one monetizes a website that lists other websites, you have to pay the other websites for listing them, that is a major change to how the whole web works.

And indeed how the whole media industry works. Because if that’s the principle, then presumably a hardcopy newspaper that attracts readers through (in part) “What’s On” listings, or pages of book reviews, should be paying the people whose events are listed and books reviewed.

Which seems ridiculous but I’m not sure how these things are distinguished, in principle.

This is true.
Possibly only a matter of an existing commercial paradigm.

If you were running the hottest, hippest event, attended by the most cash-flush opinion leaders and you offered an exclusive arrangement to a media outlet, why wouldn’t they pay you for content that would attract others to their platform. Indeed don’t they do that already? Celebrity weddings etc?


There is a world of difference between parties deciding to enter into a voluntary commercial arrangement, and legislatively imposing a whole brand new form of property right.

Is it:
legislatively imposing a whole brand new form of property right or
recognising that existing intellectual property/copy rights are being transgressed?

I’m with Princhester – they’re complaining about getting free advertising.

I’m Australian, and I literally haven’t noticed these changes. Apart from a bunch of people on FB freaking out about the fact that they can’t share news on FB any more.


Everybody: It’s terrible that we all live in these information bubbles driven by social media! We should go back to the days when we all went to the trusted media sources we knew about to get our news!

Also everybody: ZOMG! I can’t get my news from my information bubble driven by social media any more! Now how will I get my news?

The former. The entire concept of the Web depends on linking. And this is what Facebook does–it may show small excerpts, but you still have to click through to read the actual article. It’s mutually beneficial for all parties.

Now Google’s newish thing where they take the most important part of an article and show it without the user clicking on anything? That’s more of a potential problem. People may read it instead of the original site, so it makes sense that Google should have to pay for the privilege to use that stuff.

But what Facebook does is just fancy links like we get here as part of Discourse.

What I think it is are news organizations not doing so well in the online age and trying to find new revenue streams. They see these big companies and try to get them to give them more money. They tellingly don’t go after smaller companies, hoping the distaste people have for the bigger companies and their deep pockets will be enough to get them what they want.

I support Facebook showing them exactly what it would be like if they don’t get the mutually beneficial links from Facebook. If Facebook was stealing stuff from them, causing them to lose money, then this action should help them. That everyone assumes it won’t shows that we all think Facebook increases their bottom line, not decreases it.

It’s particularly interesting that here in Aus, most of the paywalled news websites are Murdoch-owned. In fact, over 60% of metro news outlets are Murdoch’s and that doesn’t include SkyNews and Foxtel, nor all the regional papers that are Murdoch controlled.

So, for FB to pay media outlets for the right to link stories, means that the outlets are essentially double-dipping. Firstly by charging FB, then by charging the punters who subscribe to read the story.