News is still accessible
Facebook has blocked users’ access to The Telegraph and content from other Australian media organisations on the social media platform in protest over federal legislation.
The sudden move last week took immediate effect, but users were also blocked from seeing information on Facebook from the Bureau of Meteorology, emergency services, health authorities, local councils including Mitchell Shire Council and even the ACT Government.
The Goulburn-Murray Water Facebook page displayed ‘‘no posts yet’’ but Goulburn Valley Water was unaffected.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said amid a pandemic, the removal of news and public health information was ‘‘beyond regrettable’’.
‘‘This is not a time for credible and reliable information to be taken away from the community,’’ he said.
More than 4000 people are part of The Telegraph’s Facebook community and McPherson Media Group director of content and audience Christine Anderson said the primary concern was the impact on readers.
‘‘Facebook has chosen to block you from accessing our content, it has a detrimental impact on community
❝Facebook has chosen to block you from accessing our content . . . but it won’t change what we have always done, which is provide our community with credible, relevant stories that matter.❞ MMG content and audience director Christine Anderson
discussion and the sharing of information, but it won’t change what we have always done, which is provide our community with credible, relevant stories that matter,’’ she said.
‘‘We will continue to serve our readers wherever they are — on our website, other social media platforms or through direct communications. We haven’t gone anywhere.’’
The Federal Government’s media bargaining code has been passed in the House of Representatives and is expected to be debated in the Senate.
Google has started signing partnerships with Australian media companies ahead of the legislation, but Facebook argues its relationship with news organisations is different.
‘‘The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content,’’ Facebook Australia and New Zealand managing director William Easton said in a statement to investors.
‘‘It has left us facing a stark choice: attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter.’’
Following the move, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg had a telephone conversation with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
‘‘He raised a few remaining issues with the government’s news media bargaining code and we agreed to continue our conversation to try to find a pathway forward,’’ Mr Frydenberg posted on Twitter.