No Facebook Tribune
Just as Facebook announced its reversed its decision, it wiped The Property Tribune’s page. Source – screenshot
  • After a 5-day standoff, Facebook will put back the news on its Australian site
  • The government has slightly amended the legislation that is progressing through parliament
  • The Property Tribune's own Facebook page has since been wiped

After a five day stand-off, global social media giant Facebook has reversed its Australian news ban.

Last Thursday, the country woke up to find most of the major news pages on Facebook had been wiped clean, simply stating ‘No posts yet’.

Australians could no longer see news in their feeds, and publishers were scrambling to issue links for users to download their apps, so readers could stay tuned.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenburg were digging in, decrying the action as ‘bullying’ and ‘arrogant’ behaviour. ‘We will not be intimidated’, was the cry, and ‘This is why big tech needs to be sorted out’ the message.

Strange Deployment

In rather a blunt catch-all approach, some ‘non-news’ organisations were caught up in this action last week. The Bureau of Meteorology and some mental health service pages were wiped clean, while other news sites, such as our own, were left untouched.

Wind on five days, a deal has now been reached whereby Facebook will agree to abide by the slightly amended legislation.

The Australian government has tweaked the proposed law giving companies like Facebook a couple of months to negotiate deals with news organisations before sending them to arbitration.

At the same time, Seven West Media announced it had already negotiated a deal with Facebook.

While all this was happening, our own Facebook page – which is only a couple of weeks old – was wiped of the 200 or so posts we had put there since we went live earlier this month.

Restoring the news pages on Facebook will take time, said the company, presumably in the same way that – as in our case – wiping them took a few days also.

In an updated Facebook post, dated 22 February (around 3pm yesterday Australian time) William Easton, Managing Director, Facebook Australia & New Zealand said:

“After further discussions, we are satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognize (sic) the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them.

“As a result of these changes, we can now work to further our investment in public interest journalism and restore news on Facebook for Australians in the coming days,” the statement from Mr Easton continued.

We will wait to see the news feeds restored – including our own – and when individuals real estate agents will be able to share Australian news on their Facebook pages.

As of the time of publication, The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The West Australian Facebook pages all show ‘No posts yet’.

The Australian
The Australian’s Facebook page is still wiped. Source – Facebook.


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