News Articles and Content Banned from Facebook. Thoughts?

Murdoch just got his way I suppose? News articles gone from Facebook. Thoughts?

In my mind the small players and local news outlets will be the ones struggling here.

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  • Facebook has a bigger stick - aussie media will suffer not facebook, if you believe the hoopla aussie media was struggling anyway. (Maybe stop producing shit like ACA)

    • Not just media. They banned the Department of Fire and Emergency Services

      • +43 votes

        They can ban whoever they like, as long as the aren't breaking discrimination laws.

        • So they're a publisher, not a platform?

          • +22 votes

            @ozhunter: I said banning people using their platform.

            That is not publishing.

            I can ban people from entering a shop I own, that is not publishing either…

            • @jv: Selective choosing what goes on their site? Sounds like they're a publisher to me in the publisher vs platform debate.

              • +5 votes


                Selective choosing what goes on their site?

                Selective choosing who can publish on their site?

              • @ozhunter:

                Selective choosing what goes on their site? Sounds like they're a publisher to me in the publisher vs platform debate.

                Then that means Ozbargain is a publisher? Because a lot of your comments have been removed previously. 😮

      • The government can pay FB to link their websites to FB.

      • It was a auto mass ban of "news" pages. Under the new media guidelines, "news" is a broad term for anything that covers current events, updates, local issues, national issues, global issues, sports… anything really. Weather channel posts news about weather in Melbourne? News. Firey posts updates on fire situation? News.

        Think Facebook has reverted the ban and those pages are already back (within a couple of hours).

        Don't blame Facebook. They are just simply complying. Blame the gov for having laws that classify news as anything really.

    • To quote a great Australian documentary, someone should "… tell [FaceBook] they're dreeeamin'" if they think they can 'strong-arm' Aussies into doing anything at all by employing knee-jerk/slapstick/ill-conceived bullying tactics. Such actions by FaceBook are almost certain to cause many forward-thinking Aussies to conclude that it would simply be better to source their Aussie news directly from the actual Australian entities that generate it in the first place.

      To my mind this is a good development; at least in a developed country like Australia. The lines between legitimate/factual news/journalism may no longer be immediately corruptible/blurred by the likes of FaceBook.

      • +76 votes

        Such actions by FaceBook are almost certain to cause many forward-thinking Aussies to conclude that it would simply be better to source their Aussie news directly from the actual Australian entities that generate it in the first place.

        But therein lies the problem (at least for media). Nobody has ever been stopping anyone from going directly to a media company's own site.

        People are on facebook, the media wants their eyeballs (ie. advertising), and they want facebook to pay them for that. Facebook has rightly said no.

        Facebook is the one creating value here. If the media companies didn't desperately need facebook then we wouldn't even be having this conversation. Old media is a dying business model in the age of the internet. They are finding it very hard to compete. That's entirely their problem because nobody owes them a living. Figure it out or go broke, just like everyone else has to.

        Besides, as forward thinking Australians already need a VPN simply to do business on the web it is trivial for them to bypass this entire problem completely.

        • +25 votes

          If the media companies didn't desperately need facebook then we wouldn't even be having this conversation

          Priceless truth!

        • Still way better for everyone for news and various other differing channels to not go through the same giant tech companies though - they're completely anti-competitive

          • @sakurashu: They are anti-competitive but that's an entirely different issue requiring a different solution. I want the government to deal with that root cause.

            Market forces will solve most problems (perhaps not to everyone's liking) but they can't do it if they can't exist. Fix that and the facebook vs. media problem will fix itself.

        • Kevin Rudd explains it very well here.

        • Yo cfuse, re:

          'People are on FaceBook, the media wants their eyeballs (i.e. advertising), and they want facebook to pay them for that. Facebook has rightly said no.'

          I agree 100% with that, and your post has prompted me to rethink the current stoush that is transpiring a bit.

          You're quite right that "nobody has ever been stopping anyone from going directly to a media company's own site", and I suggest that peeps start (or recommence) actively doing that. Your post reminded me that FB never purported to be a 'news provider', and in fact the misconception that they were an official news provider has caused them headaches in the past—i.e. they have essentially been blamed for disseminating misinformation/BS, when in fact they did no such thing; their users did.

          After contemplating your post for a while cfuse, I now think that FB has made a pretty predictable move. Perhaps the fundamental message they intended to project by their recent actions is:

          'We are a social networking site, and we have always fundamentally been that. We never asked to become some sort of 'pseudo-news portal', and for that reason we are certainly not willing to pay any third parties to be (or become) that.'

          Fair enough

          I do disagree with some of your contentions though cfuse … for example:

          'If the media companies didn't desperately need facebook …'

          I don't think they do. In fact, I think they will be better off without FB, but time will tell …

          'Facebook is the one creating value here.'

          Erm … how so? FB is the one currently profiting from advertising … but that is not exactly 'creating value' …

          • @GnarlyKnuckles: How do Facebook profit from users sharing news?

            After users click through to the media page, the media company will gets all the revenue from the ads on their pages.

            Facebook is giving them 10x the amount of views they would normally get, so what's the problem? I for one would not go to their website and seek out the article. If I did want to, I would google that article, or the topic, because I am not going to waste my time searching a news website full of click bait articles and spam, promoted links just to find one article that I may show some interest in.

            For that reason, I am on Facebooks side.

            TLDR: The media sites still get their ad revenue from links followed on Facebook, and Facebook is giving them far more opportunity to make money than ads than if the links weren't shared on Facebook.

          • @GnarlyKnuckles: Facebook is acting as a news aggregator, something that has long been established by law and custom to be an activity not requiring compensation. This is the link tax argument for the millionth time.

            I think what facebook is doing here is nothing more than demonstrating their hegemony with calculated chicken. This is a critical negotiating vulnerability we see time and time again as a product of Australia's small size as a market. The government gets too bossy for its boots, and the other party simply turns around and demonstrates their ability to cease service. In the vast majority of cases the government caves. Can we expect facebook to not try that tactic given how well it works?

            If media companies didn't need facebook then there'd be no complaints from them about facebook shutting down their operation. If facebook is a private platform then they don't owe anyone service, nor service in a manner catered exclusively to some over others. If true competition exists then there's no reason that media companies cannot create their own news and social media service and live without facebook. The core problem here is not addressed by a link tax and never can be. Facebook is being anti-competitive and so are the media companies, they're both the problem, and if the government actually addressed the lack of competition then this problem would solve itself.

            Facebook creates value for its users by showing them publicly available information. Facebook has zero onus to create value for media companies, let alone by a link tax.

            No matter what the government does here, it cannot easily force facebook into a business relationship with third parties if facebook refuses to play ball. The government could put a brutal tax regime in place for facebook and hand all the money to Murdoch and facebook still wouldn't have to publish his crap on their site, which would be enormously damaging to his business without facebook having to do anything at all.

            If facebook really wanted to ratchet up the pain on both Murdoch and the government itself all it would need to do is a hostile takeover of the Australian media landscape. They have a massive platform and more than enough money to fund and favour non-Murdoch press (or even set up their own). We've seen facebook interfere in politics at or above the level of Murdoch globally, so the logical thing for them to do here would be to use Australia as a testing ground for hegemonic control and nullification of old media. Facebook could use us to figure out how to control all the eyeballs in a country, including the offline ones. Then they could roll that out globally.

        • Far out I feel this is the best read of the situation that I've read anywhere, especially from facebook’s front.

          Let’s forget the background noise and politics from the left or right for a second and see it from Facebook's point of view. Facebook can do whatever they want, they could literally ban everyone from Australia for no reason – it would be bad business but that’s beside the point.

          The people/entitles who are angry at Facebook for removing the news outlets, you can simply make your own social media network and do whatever you wish.

      • bizarre - eg most great australian documentaries are not shown or are banned usually…and it doesn't get any better….

      • Then you have misunderstood what the bill actually does.

    • lol when the aussie gov played the 'pay the news corporations more or we will ban you card'..
      I can imagine zuk laughing with his robot voice in background while reading it, than orders an entire ban on aussie news. just to really F them over and show them who is running this shit

  • Ha tried to post an article from the Age and it got blocked. It seems Facebook can monitor posts when it wants to. Now fix all those damn scam posts for cryptocurrency you jerks…

  • The liberals pay murdoch protection money as it is

    We have our own australian broadcasting corporation that Australia owns and runs why do we need murdoch at all?
    Gutless liberal kowtowing = cowards ruled by the media to scared to make a stand.
    Reap what you sow Australia

    • Relax Pauline

      • Lmao, calling someone who's criticising the Liberal government "Pauline" is some real r/TheRightCantMeme bullshit. How do you even make the connection? I am assuming you're talking about Pauline Pantsdown, and if so she is slopping around so closely in the conservative corruption POS shit-pen to the Liberals, you're joke doesn't make sense.

        People really do seem to fall for Scotty From Failed-Marketing's "How good's Australia"-esque propganda, lies, drivel.

    • +16 votes

      Remember that "Australia Needs Tony" frontpage ad? Dead tree media is still consumed by many voters. That's why politicians care.

      We don't need Murdoch, but they most certainly do.

    • Don't worry the ministry of truth will sort this out for the people.

    • The debate in the open is a gaslighting tactic.. whilst the real shonky deals are under tables and in carparks and inside people's phones.
      As someone that sees this and can't do much about it… What do you do?


      Maybe we need an ozBargain political party…

  • +4 votes

    Where is the bargain?

    Face what?

    • This.

      I've been Facebook-free (excl Instagram*) for 10yrs and counting.

      This week I learned: People use Facebook as a news feed. Guffaw! My reaction to all of the shenanigans this week, particularly the pathetic media/tech/govt bleating, was one of general bemusement.

      This "thing" of feeling a need to share already-published news (rather than simply seeking/consuming/synthesising it individually) was borne out of Twitter & Facebook. If I want news, I'll go and read/view it myself from whoever I trust to publish it.

      The "LOOK AT THIS!" bullsh!t of news sharing is tiresome to me.

      *That's one part of Zuck's kingdom I still play in. But I find the relative simplicity of Instagram and significantly lower level of user drama and bullshit much easier to take.

  • Pay for news content? Outrageous. What will these out of control out out touch Australian politicians think of next? Make them pay tax? No, unimaginable.

  • +2 votes

    This action by FB is surely a direct response to the agreement between Murdoch / Ch9 with Google. The federal government sees it as a good thing.
    It will likely have zero impact on me, but some are reporting that sites such as BOM etc. are now not on FB, so those orgs will need to change their media strategy.
    Similarly, I'm seeing some reports from different countries (mainly in the SW Pacific) that they cannot post news items related to their country / region. Maybe FB is still tweaking the configs?

    • but some are reporting that sites such as BOM etc. are now not on FB, so those orgs will need to change their media strategy

      Facebook should probably change their filtering strategy, since BOM etc are not providing "news" but public service announcements. Not even sure why they've been removed - over-zealous filtering (accidental or intentional)?

      • Facebook claim it was a 'mistake' that emergency services, etc were banned. I suspect it was deliberate, expecting people to take it out on the government. But Australians are not stupid - the backlash had them scrambling.

        I know Australia is a small market for FB, but I do wonder if this is the beginning of the end for FB. People will begin to realise they don't need it, and they can get their news from other sources. Canada and the EU are watching closely, and you can guarantee the US media are too…

        • Almost impossible to be a mistake - the 'collateral damage' was a calculated flex/bully. Facebook isn't exactly a small shop making cowboy decisions - they are as big and as sophisticated as it gets and employ best practice change management. Any change would go through layers of testing and sign off - they knew exactly what would happen.

          • @Cunning Linguist: I think you guys are way overestimating the amount of effort Facebook is putting into managing all of this. The overall company might be big, but that doesn't mean thousands of people are actively overseeing Australian political responses.

            A high level decision was probably made - let's cut off Australian news. That came from non-techy managers, filtered down to a directive to one or two engineers with a 'get this done yesterday' deadline, and some dude did the best he could in a short time frame. The manager level probably didn't even think about what "news" encompassed, just that a retaliation effort was warranted.

            • @Alzori: Retaliation? You mean malicious compliance? They were given shitty options and choose the best one for them. I applaud them for not giving into the bullying tactics Aus gov is trying to enforce.

              • @Settero: Whatever you want to call it, I agree that it was the best choice for them to make and I'm disappointed Google didn't do similar.

          • @Cunning Linguist: Ah, you’ve obviously never worked in a large tech company. This was clearly a mistake and an amateur one at that. They even banned small business pages who were advertising with them. It looks like some tech was given a few hours tops to work out how to get this done, without forewarning anyone or testing anything.

      • Since when isn't the weather news?

        Public service or not, Facebook should be consistent and block these government 'service announcements'.

        • They did block it, and then the government tried to claim it wasn't news. Which demonstrates just how broadly the wording of the bill can be interpreted.

        • This has nothing to do with protecting jobs for Australians
          Its kowtowing to rupert plain and simple

          No protection for shipbuilders car manufacturing education Australian fruit pickers Australian quarantine on covid or jobs for guarding refugees in detention offshore

          When the mines are all drones there will be no jobs there too are the liberal nationals insisting they stay manned I doubt it. Ask barnaby why he wants to keep dirty coal alive Follow the money

          liberal nationals are all crooked like pigs at the trough or find me a nice clean one?

          frydenberg standing there all smug like he achieved something all he has done is given google a huge tax deduction
          How good is that
          and better still
          Who do you think will be the ones that have to pay this new tax

          • @Loot N Plunder: There's a difference between getting paid properly for the work you produce and giving away good money after bad.
            Rupert isn't the only one being affected by the loss of advertising revenue/publication of work you didn't pay for.
            The car building was a joke in Australia, car makers not following trends quickly enough and producing cars that were not wanted by the general public. Ford got the idea with the territory, but quality was typical of Aussie car building under a US/Aus controlled company, they fell apart after 50,000km.I'm glad the government stopped propping up those companies that sent billions of dollars to head companies overseas. For the investment given they could've given away thousands of base model vehicles, yet they still cried poor. Paying someone $100K p/a to screw on a front left indicator was 'money well spent'.

            The ones to pay the new tax are the data miners/sellers and your browser recommendations, won't cost you anything (if you don't buy google or facebook branded products).

            I know most libs are corrupt, state or national, I'm not arguing that point.

            • @blank-404: Google paid over fifty million in tax last year now because of this new cost to them google will not be paying any tax they could even have a loss and join the many multinationals that refuse to pay anything at all. So its left up once again to the hard workers to do the lifting and the multinationals just keep leaning on Australia

              Why is it up to the taxpayer to foot the bill in the end? I bet rupert wont be paying any tax on this new windfall

              • @Loot N Plunder: You really have a hard-on for Rupert don't you. His journalists live in Australia and spend money in Australia. Google have done, and always will, move their profits to the lowest company rate country. Facebook don't do business in Australia (apparently) so they have never and will never spend/tax any money in Australia.
                You could lower googles profits by not purchasing google branded products or android o/s phones, cause you've probably already given up the foxtel and daily tele subscriptions.

                • @blank-404: There is your problem

                  A company supply's a workforce so that said company gets a free ride for tax evasion

                  Lifetime Achievement Award: Rupert Murdoch’s News Australia Holdings racked up $16bn income but paid zero tax over six years even on the $246m they declared in taxable income.
                  sixteen billion and no tax not a red cent in tax hell we even rewarded them forty million for doing it
                  How good is that

                  So what they employ some people the company itself is fleecing Australia and you are all for it
                  The worker on minimum wage pays more tax than a billion dollar company and that sounds fair

                  The disabled person is paying more tax through GST than a billion dollar multinational YUP fair

          • @Loot N Plunder:

            Its kowtowing to rupert plain and simple

            lol - if that's what it was in any way, the ALP would NOT be supporting it for a start…

            • @papachris: the alp wants and needs murdoch's support….

              • @petry: The idea of support for the ALP from Murdoch is laughable! ALP supports the government action because the public (apart from many OzB posters apparently) and world governments are increasingly angry at the way Facebook and other digital giants make massive profits without giving back…

                • @papachris: The alp wants and needs Murdoch support. If it suits murdoch he will offer them a deal and they will jump at it - that's how it is.

                  • @petry: The ALP isn’t getting Murdoch support no matter what they do, everyone knows this, especially the ALP.

                    Journalists are often union members though, so it’s pretty on brand for the ALP to support local workers.

                    • @jkart: no labor will accept any deal murdoch throws it way - labor is as morally vacuous as the liberals these days…beazeley is a case in point

  • Is it a bad thing that people will have to navigate outside of Facebook to get their news?

    The trend with the internet that concerns me the most is the trend towards less and less user direction - just media pushed to you. If this is a step away from that then I'm happy.

  • Well in WA, FB banned the Opposition leaders page, so it's not just news outlets. 3 weeks out from an election.

    Also, they banned the Department of Fire and Emergency Services WA, which is insane, considering they give critical information.

    • +8 votes

      I would never rely on FB for sourcing current emergency information.

      • No but some smaller community organisations it was a cheap way to connect with teh local community and put out relevant information.

        • So, you're saying, they've used (and relied upon) a free service for years without paying for it and now they're crying because they've been cut off?

          • @dazeller: Firstly, I never said anything like what you are alleging. I was merely pointing out why Facebook was a convenient platform for some small communities to put our emergency or at least local information.

            Free is relative, their content was part of what made Facebook platform engaging enough that they could sell ads. I'm sure the majority of people on here use a free email service. If all of peoples emails on a service were deleted or removed overnight on a whim without notice I think plenty of people would be justifiably screaming. It's one thing if a company goes bankrupt, or has infrastructure problems, or reorganises their business into a paid service but their should be reasonable notice.

            I dont have a problem with facebook removing news. The govs proposed law is stupid. But the relationship between the user of these platforms and the platforms is not serf.

      • While not necessarily relying on it, maybe people browsing FB would come across current emergency information? (Idk though, haven't used FB for years)

    • burning is liberal policy..

    • Old sheeps

    • Sick of this same comment anytime something about Facebook comes up.

      Yes, hundreds of millions of people still use Facebook.

      No, not everyone uses it as their main (or even secondary or tertiary) news source.

      I use it to stay in touch with friends and family easily.

      Congratulations to you if you don’t use it, here’s an internet medal for you 🥇