If you’re like me, you probably woke up on Thursday morning (18th Feb 2021) for your ‘wake up scroll’ on Facebook – for year’s now, it’s been a ritual for many to wake up in the morning and get your daily dose of notifications before getting ready for the day. But this particular morning, things where different. A streamlined notification from Facebook was gently sitting at the top of all Australian user’s newsfeed, waiting to be read, with major changes being announced.
Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Facebook, officially declared war against the Australian Government’s ‘News Media Bargaining Code’ Law. If you’re not familiar with this new law, the run down is, back in April 2020, the Australian Government requested that the ACCC develop a mandatory Code of Conduct between Australian News/Media companies and digital platforms, specifically Facebook and Google – demanding that these digital platforms (Facebook and Google) pay for content that is shared by Australian News/Media companies. (You can learn more about this here).
Whilst Google, a global search engine, came to a formal bargain/agreement with the Australian Government – Facebook, a social networking platform, didn’t. Instead, Facebook has censored all Australian News/Media companies and their content from the platform. This means that all of these News/Media companies can no longer publish or share content, as well as no user of Facebook, (your average person just like you and i), can share content from these News/Media companies on Facebook’s platform.
Currently, Australia is the only country in the world to put these laws in place and demand payment from digital platforms, Facebook and Google, for Australian news stories. Is Facebook wrong to stand up and take action against these new laws? The debate is, Facebook is a platform that allows businesses to sign-up and share their content with Facebook’s users – connecting their users with all businesses, for free.
(If you missed Facebook’s statement, you can read it here).
Scott Morrison (ScoMo), the current Liberal Party Prime Minister of Australia, took to Facebook to voice his opinion. See below.
Now everyone has their own opinion on this situation, and that’s their right – but is it Facebook’s right to censor companies that are making demands to get paid for the content they chose to publish, when Facebook was developed as a social media/networking platform, focused on people, community and connecting users to local businesses? It’s a tough debate, especially when the world is currently stuck in the COVID-19 pandemic and users look to Facebook each day to get the latest update from News/Media outlets.
Are News/Media companies loosing viewers on free-to-air TV, now that streaming services are taking over the younger generations, thus clutching at straws because they are generating less revenue? Are they being greedy?
At the end of the day, with the amount of ‘Fake News’ that dangerously influences people globally, being shared on Social Media platforms, maybe it’s a change for the better to keep news off Social Media and left to being on TV, Radio, Google, Newspapers and News subscriptions services, where people can do their own research to find more accurate news. Would we be happier mentally having Social Media, being just that – social and community driven?
There is a lot to think about here, both Facebook and the Australian Government have a part to play, so i guess it’s just a matter of time – waiting to see what happens next – surely this won’t be a forever thing, will it?
Let me know what you think, i’d love nothing more than to hear how this has affected people, like you, in Australia.
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