Facebook’s ban on news. Image: Canva
  • On Thursday morning Facebook put a ban on news for the site
  • With fears over fake news, an open letter condemning Facebook's move is circulating
  • REIA's message for real estate agents is that the show must go on

Thursday morning’s wipe out of Facebook news in Australia was followed by global concerns for damage to the country’s democracy as fake news continues to circulate on the platform.

But what will the impact be on real estate?

An open letter condemning Facebook’s actions has gained attention and signatures from both local and international supporters.

The letter describes Facebook’s move as “extreme” and “nuclear” and that it leaves “…room for misinformation and hate speech to fill the void left behind.”

Chris Cooper, executive director of Reset Australia, launched the letter late on Thursday.

“Facebook didn’t just wipe Australian news. It also silenced the voices of Australia’s civil society – from charities, unions, even political parties.”

One of the voices affected is the voice of real estate.

The Real Estate Institue of Australia (REIA) is assessing the impact on the industry as Facebook has been an important means of connection to potential buyers.

REIA President, Adrian Kelly is confident in the real estate market, believing it will continue to reach its customers.

“We strongly advise them to sign up direct to their preferred source of news for listings for their housing needs.”

“From a real estate sales perspective, buyers will go where the properties are being advertised which could ultimately be to Facebook’s detriment.

“COVID has proven that estate agents are very quick to adapt to new technologies and that will be the case in the current environment.

“As with COVID, for agencies and our customers, the show must go on,”

Kelly warns against agents posting links to Facebook that will direct someone outside Facebook as this will be considered as news.

“Agents need to be aware that the changes will impact on all property social media campaigns as they are considered a news outlet on the platform and so activity will be restricted.”

With fears of misinformation being spread, particularly during the current pandemic climate, Cooper calls for new regulations of tech companies.

“Globally, it is clear new rules are needed for big tech, there is no doubt about that. As a society, we need to be able to harness new technology for the greater good and not purely for someone’s profit.

“Social media has reached the point now where it doesn’t matter if you use it or you don’t, you are impacted in some way or another by what happens online.”

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