Yesterday a vast number of Australian Facebook pages had their content switched off, due to a controversial action by Mark Zuckerberg and his team in response to an ongoing spat with the Australian government. Today is day two, so what’s the update?
In a power move which politicians described as “reckless’ and “irresponsible”, Facebook wiped an abundance of pages from its platform on Wednesday night.
As such, what would normally be a daily morning fix of reading up on trending local and international news on Facey, was instead rendered to thumb draining scrolling of irrelevant ads, baby shots from distant friends you’d probably forgotten about and irritated people asking “what the hell is going on here?”
News sites, magazines airline, and travel pages, as well as numerous government health, emergency, and support pages, were all caught up in the absolute blanket cluster-Zuck, said to be protecting us all from fake news.
What’s the update today?
As you can imagine, the folks over at Facebook were “swamped with the issue” yesterday, with business owners, students, bloggers, journalists and governments attempting to understand what the heck is going on and why.
Thankfully at least, pages such as the Queensland Health, SA Health, Betoota Advocate, Virgin Australia, Bureau of Meteorology, and a few more, have now been reactivated.
However, many ‘non-news’ travel sites including Bunnik Tours, Aurora Expeditions, Tourism Fiji, Intrepid, Adventure.com and Hurtigruten as well as media platforms The ABC, The Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald and an overwhelming number of other pages including Karryon are still showing up with zero content today.
Facebook did also managed to reinstate its own Facebook page, after including that in the ban too. Oh, the irony!
By some absolute miracle, Flight Centre, APT, Globus, Qantas, and Jetstar, stayed standing throughout.
With government stating they will be speaking with Facebook over the weekend to negotiate further, let’s hope we see more pages reinstated soon and a resolution to what has now turned into another PR disaster for the tech behemoth.
The backlash for Facebook
In the words of Belinda Barnet, from the Guardian, “If you’re looking for factual information of any kind on Facebook, it is a mess. This is a sign of what is to come as well: we cannot rely on this platform any more for truthful data.”
The move could well draw users, communities, and advertisers away.
Although Australia reportedly only represents 1% of Facebook’s revenue, meaning the financial impact for Facebook will be relatively small, the move could still divert people to new platforms and new ways of being online.
Twitter is currently filled with tweets urging people to “delete Facebook” and #BoycottZuckerberg hashtags.
According to a report by the ABC, ‘even those with immense power can face reputational damage that, when constantly under attack, becomes hard to repair.’
Surely “move fast and break things” which was previously Facebook’s mantra isn’t a sustainable approach to anything?
Missing the news? Here’s what can you do?
It’s pretty safe to say that anyone who runs a Facebook page in Australia has any idea, nor have received any communication from Facebook regarding the details and timing of if and when the ban will end.
Ultimately, it all comes down to the Australian federal government and Facebook themselves to work out a deal. Pronto.
PM Scott Morrison has told Facebook that ‘It’s not okay to unfriend Australia’ and that Australia will not be bullied by anyone. He also confirmed that the ‘News Media Bargaining Code’ which started this issue will still proceed for final approval in the house of representatives next week.
Will Facebook buckle to government pressure now? Or stand firm and make an example of Australia?
Either way, it’s a good idea to start supporting your favourite news, media and travel pages directly and not relying on Facebook for anything other than photos of food, birthday reminders, pregnancy announcements and cat videos.
You can sign up to their direct emailing list to get updates that way – including Karryon of course if you haven’t already.
You can also still buy a newspaper or a magazine. You can download news apps to your phone. You can share links via text or chat messages.
Websites are still live, so show your devotion and give your fingers a little workout by typing, Karryon or any other website, directly into your URL.
Life goes on for everyone including us here at Karryon, whether it’s posted on Facebook or not.
What do you think of the ban? Let us know: [email protected]
Share this story