Facebook has now officially banned Australians from sharing and seeing news on its platform. This is what that actually means for you.
The announcement was made in a blog post by Facebook Australia and New Zealand’s managing director, William Easton, on Thursday morning.
“In response to Australia’s proposed new Media Bargaining law, Facebook will restrict publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content,” the post said.
What does the Facebook news ban actually mean?
From today a new set of restrictions are now in place that impact publishers and the public in Australia and overseas. It’s a little different, depending who you are.
For Australians, this means you won’t be able to share or view Australian OR international links from websites that are deemed to be news. This is anything from video game and tech news sites to mainstream news.
In short, no news will appear or can be shared to your Facebook feed anymore.
For international Facebook users, it means they can’t view or share Australian news links or content from Australians news Pages.
For Australian publishers, it means they can’t share or post any kind of content to Facebook Pages.
According to the Facebook blog post, they will still be able to access their Pages, including Creator Studio and insights. Data tools and CrowdTangle will also continue to operate.
International publishers will still be able to publish news content as per normal but their content won’t be seen by Australian Facebook users.
It does appear that this is still in the roll out faze, however. Former Gizmodo editor, Rae Johnston, has discovered one work around — using the share feature to crosspost an Instagram post with a news link in it over to a Facebook Page.
Just did a test. Sharing a news link directly to my Facebook page: fail.
Using the share/crosspost feature from Instagram with the link included in the caption: success. When you click on the link, there's a warning – but otherwise, it works. pic.twitter.com/fwtN54aaLC
— Rae Johnston (@raejohnston) February 17, 2021
Gizmodo Australia has also still been able to post to our Facebook Page, though people may well not be able to see the posts at all.
Why is this happening?
Facebook has taken this measure due to Australia’s proposed Media Bargaining Law: Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2020.
If the law passes it would force Google and Facebook (though not anymore on the latter there) to pay for news content that is shown on their platforms.
Earlier this week it was reported that the government was considering making some big concessions with the Bill — exempting Google Search and Facebook’s newsfeed.
The designation process was also going to be put on hold so Google and Facebook could sign commercial agreements with publishers.
This happened when Seven West Media signed a $30 million a year deal with Google. Nine Media (which owns Gizmodo Australia) also followed with the same deal.
However, despite the proposed concessions, Facebook has still moved ahead on pulling the plug on news in Australia.
This story is updating…