The Facebook ban blocks posts from any Australian publisher from being seen anywhere in the world, and blocks all users in Australia from seeing any news content, even from non-Australian publishers. The move apparently caught up some government websites that posted information about emergencies, fires and weather.
The reaction in Australia was severe. “Facebook needs to think very carefully about what this means for its reputation and standing,” Australian Communications Minister Paul Fletcher told the country’s public broadcaster. “They’re effectively saying ‘on our platform there will not be any information from organizations that employ paid journalists.’”
Facebook had less to lose than Google — which had threatened to completely shut down its search engine in the country — by escalating the fight further, Johan Lidberg, a media professor at Monash University in Melbourne, said in an email.
“Google also appears to be more in tune with what the community wants and seems to take social responsibility somewhat more seriously than Facebook,” he said. “There will now appear a void where professional credible journalism used to be on Facebook and this void could be populated with misinformation and conspiracy theorists.”