Facebook bans viewing and sharing all news articles in Australia

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud labels Facebook decision to ban all Australian news content 'reckless and irresponsible'.

Mordechai Sones ,

Australia Police
Australia Police

Facebook yesterday responded to the Morrison government establishing a "bargaining code" law to be passed soon that would mandate the social media platform to pay media outlets to use their content. Thus, every time a person shares a document or article from the news, Facebook must pay the media corporation. Facebook, in turn, banned all media from being shared in Australia.

The purported purpose of the law is to force tech giants to pay Australian media outlets for using news content "in a bid to sustain the future of journalism," says Sky News Australia.

"The way you share news is changing," reads a new Facebook message to Australian readers. "In response to Australian government legislation, Facebook restricts the posting of news links and all posts from news pages in Australia."

The notice concludes: "Globally, the posting and sharing of news links from Australian publications is restricted."

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud labelled Facebook’s decision “reckless and irresponsible," saying the platform is “putting people’s lives at risk”.

During Question Time on Thursday, Littleproud said the move blocked public access to state emergency service pages, and all on a morning where fire and flood warnings were issued across Australia. “The legislation that passed this house, and is now going to the Senate, does not impose any financial burden on Facebook for the use of government information, particularly from emergency services,” he said.

“The Australian people and its government will not be bullied by some big tech company that is putting people’s lives at risk and putting profits ahead of people.”

Victoria resident Lauren Easton told Arutz Sheva: "This is presenting a major problem for people; how will we be able to easily share and compare information now to find the truth in the midst of all the lies?"

She continued: "Some people think this is a great thing, to limit the spread of misinformation, but I think it's bloody dangerous, actually. Younger generations, particularly, don't sit in front of the television all day, or read the newspaper. They rely on Facebook to find the news. So it's a big problem. What happens if there's a major bush fire? People need to know where to go, what to do. Facebook is now not allowing any news to be published." She continued with a sigh, "These are the times we're living in."

She speculated on the future of journalism in Australia: "I wonder what will happen to the independent journalists here in Australia, people like Avi Yamini from Rebel News, he frequently attends all the protests that I've been to, to give an alternative point of view on the events in Melbourne from what the mainstream media presents on television. So what happens to himself, or Monica Smith, who are advocates for democracy in Australia - what happens to these people? They will no longer be able to share any of this information freely on Facebook for people to see. We will now have to go through different websites and sift through a bunch of information there. It doesn't make the process easy for us anymore.

"They shut down Parler very easily. What gives us so much confidence that even if we go to alternate platforms to share these articles freely that they won't shut those down, too? They've already done it once."