In a massive escalation of the brewing tensions between Facebook and the Australian government, a few days back, Facebook effectively banned all news content that originated from Australia from being seen by Aussies.
This was done as a direct response to the new law that sought to compel Facebook and other social media websites to pay publishers for news content displayed on their platforms. However, the ban seriously affected many government agencies and departments, who were unable to provide information to the public on relevant issues of concern. Notably, the fire department, the postal authority, and several other departments had to bear the burn of this shut out.
The government responded by claiming that the action of Facebook had severely endangered public safety and that also in the time of a global pandemic. Through a high ranking official, Josh Frydenberg, the government stated that the government will not sit idly as Facebook attempts to bully Australia to tow its line by jettisoning the new legislation.
Frydenberg’s statement reflected how public safety was gravely trampled upon by the action of Facebook. He mentioned persons seeking information on vaccines for the COVID-19 were unable to get it because of this news shut.
As per reports, the information blackout is projected to have affected millions of Australians who rely on government pages for vital information and warnings on different aspects that enhance public safety. Even though, Facebook only banned content from news publishers, several of these public institutions and agencies were the ones that took a huge hit by the action.
On the other hand, Facebook has already issued a statement that all accounts that were wrongfully affected by the ban would be restored soon. As of now, most of the public pages including those of health facilities have been restored but some reports claim that the shut out still persists in some of the areas.