Australians called for a boycott of Facebook

20/02/2021 10:44 GMT + 7

Facebook’s actions were divided across Australia, some indifferent, while others angered. Keyword #deletefacebook has reached the top of Twitter trending here.

Australians called for a boycott of Facebook. Artwork: Internet

On February 18, Facebook announced that Australian users could no longer keep up with the news on the platform. Foreign users also cannot share news from this country. This is a move in response to Australia’s new media bill, which forces Google and Facebook to pay for links that lead to press content appearing on News Bulletin Boards or search results.

A day earlier, Google said it had signed an important agreement with News Corp of the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch. However, Facebook has adopted a “nuclear option”, according to Peter Lewis, director of the Center for Technology Responsibility at the Australian Institute.

Reaction of the Australian people

Facebook’s actions sparked mixed opinions across the country. Keyword #deletefacebook reached the top of Twitter trends here on February 18. While wiping out articles on the pages of press organizations, Facebook also unintentionally affected the pages of dozens of charities, medical, small business, and government agencies.

Fred Azis Laranjo, a person living in Sydney, said that Facebook’s decision will be counterproductive and the social network will lose fans and customers. According to him, Facebook is inconvenient and makes a large part of the population angry. “In the long run, I think it’s a good idea to encourage more news seekers to be proactive, meaning they’ll have access to a more diverse perspective.”

Another Sydney resident, Josh Gadsby, has shown an interest in the matter, and perhaps most Australians do. Facebook has exacerbated the situation by banning non-news sites. “Having worked for the Financial Times for several years, I have seen how Facebook and Google impact advertising revenue of traditional publishers. I think it makes sense for them to pay something to use content from the publisher.

Gadsby believes Facebook should be in talks with publishers. He is also curious about the next move but said the ban will not last long.

The moment Facebook decided to ban news in Australia also made some people angry. Natasha Kinrade, who works in the sales department at event organizer Clifton, said Facebook’s ban on news, especially during the Covid era, was extremely wrong. Sometimes, she points out, Facebook is the fastest-updated source of unexpected events like terrorist attacks.

Venture capitalist John Henderson is concerned about the social repercussions of mainstream news disappearing from Facebook. It will definitely create more space for fake news and unreliable journalism. Even so, Joe Daunt, a senior video editor at A Cloud Guru, hopes people will see less of the fake news and false information if they start looking for news outside of Facebook.

Jon Gore, who lives at Byron Bay, told CNBC that he really doesn’t care about Facebook’s move. He says he doesn’t use Facebook to keep up with news and feels he has to check more sources if he reads it on the platform. “I’m not interested in sensational stories. I am quite annoyed and do not actively click on the links containing the title of the view statement. According to Gore, many small businesses and charities may experience problems after their pages are deleted by Facebook.

Political perspective

Australian leaders are furious with Facebook. Prime Minister Scott Morrison called Facebook’s actions “arrogant,” “disappointing,” while Treasury Secretary Josh Frydenberg said Facebook was doing something wrong and unnecessary. It will damage their reputation in Australia.

“The decision to ban Australians from accessing government websites – whether pandemic aid, mental health, emergency services, Department of Meteorology … have absolutely nothing to do with press law, which it has not even been approved by the Senate, ”said Frydenberg at a press conference on February 18. The next morning, he updated to Twitter that he spoke with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the remaining issues and would act immediately. He reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to applying the new press law.

Data from research firm Statista shows that 62% of Australians update news from television and 52% from social media.

Du Lam (According to CNBC)

The US urgently drafted a law to support the press in negotiating with Facebook and Google

The US urgently drafted a law to support the press in negotiating with Facebook and Google

The US press support bill comes at a time of mounting tensions between Australia and Facebook. “If you look at small-scale newspapers, the only way to get a reasonable contract is to act together,” commented CEO of News Media Alliance.


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