Seymour Telegraph

News is still accessible

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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.

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