Facebook blocks news sharing platforms in Australia for all the users.
On February 17 2021 Facebook blocked all the news sharing portals in Australia over the government ready to adopt the new legislation which forces digital platforms to pay for news content.
The sudden ban on the news portal affected a lot of emergency services including the rollout of Covid-19 Vaccine. From February 18, morning onwards the Australian users were unable to view any news outlets from Facebook pages or post links to news articles from anywhere in the world.
The ban was a response to the new laws which forces the social media platforms to pay for news contents shared on their sites.
Around the country health, fire and meteorological services experienced problems with their respective Facebook pages amid several serious public emergencies. Pages that would warn the people about Covid-19 outbreaks, fires and cyclones went all blank after the ban.
Facebook’s spokesperson said that official government pages should not have been impacted by the ban and the company will reverse the government pages which were unintentionally impacted.
Elaine Pearson director of Human Rights Watch Australia said that the ban has also had a huge impact on the charities and several other important pages also describing the turn of events as “alarming and dangerous.”
Several Facebook pages which regularly promotes conspiracy theories and misinformation were not affected by the ban and it raised concerned in Australia’s government also media groups as all the verified new sources are all blocked.
William Easton, manager of Facebook for Australia and New Zealand said that the proposed law misunderstands the relationship between Facebook and publishers who uses it to share news content. The digital platform runs in the favor of the publishers and also generates hundreds of millions of dollars as revenue for the media organizations of the country.
The legislation was passed on late Wednesday by Australia’s House of Representatives and now the bill is set to be considered by the Senate.