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Australia Facebook just restricted access to news in Australia. Here's what that means for you

06:21  18 february  2021
06:21  18 february  2021 Source:   msn.com

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a hand holding a cellphone: An error message will now appear if you try and post news content via your Facebook page. (Pexels.com) © Provided by ABC Business An error message will now appear if you try and post news content via your Facebook page. (Pexels.com)

Facebook has restricted access to news in Australia.

The tech giant says news makes up less than four per cent of what people see in their feeds, but you'll likely notice a difference when logging into the social network today.

Let's unpack what we know so far and how we got here.

What just happened?

Basically, there's no content on the pages of any Australian news outlets. You can go and look for yourself.

That means there will be no more updates from your favourite news organisations in your feed.

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If you search for the Facebook pages of (for example) ABC News, the Sydney Morning Herald, the New York Times, and the BBC, you'll see a blank feed saying "No posts yet".

If you're logged off from Facebook and search for individual news pages, you can still see their posts, but won't be able to interact with them.

It's not just news organisations — government pages like Queensland Health and the Bureau of Meteorology were restricted this morning, though they have now been restored.

Commercial outlets like Harvey Norman have been wiped, and even Facebook's own Facebook page is inaccessible.

It's probably worth noting that this also means there is no more access to live streams of coronavirus press conferences via Facebook.

Logging into Facebook brings up different messages about this change depending on the device you're on.

Facebook is set to restore Australian news pages

  Facebook is set to restore Australian news pages Facebook has advised the Australian government it will restore Australian news pages 'within the coming days'.The social media platform was condemned by politicians around the world after it blocked 25 million Australians from viewing and sharing news articles on Thursday.

If you're on a desktop, you'll get a message titled: "The way you share news is changing" and informing you "the posting and sharing of news links from Australian publications is restricted".

If you're on a mobile device, you may not have received a message at all.

What am I restricted from doing?

If you try to share news articles to your Facebook friends, on your own Facebook pages, or in Facebook groups — whether you're on a desktop or mobile — you'll get an error message.

You won't be able to view or share Australian or international news content on Facebook, or content from Australian or international news pages.

If you're overseas — or program an overseas IP address in your VPN — you won't be able to view or share Australian news content on Facebook or content from Australian news pages.

Why would they do this? Was there any warning?

Facebook and the Australian government have been in talks for some time, and Facebook had threatened to take today's actions last September.

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It's all related to new media bargaining laws, proposed by the government, which would force major tech giants to pay Australian news outlets for their content.

Facebook said the proposed Australian law fundamentally misunderstood the relationship between its platform and publishers who use it to share news content.

It said it faced a "stark choice" between attempting to comply with a law, or banning news content on its services in Australia — and "with a heavy heart" it was choosing the latter.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he had no warning Facebook would take these actions today, describing them "wrong and heavy handed".

What about Instagram and other social media sites?

These changes are just affecting Facebook at this stage.

You can still share content on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

But Instagram is not as conducive to sharing news as Facebook — most users have never been able to post clickable links within Instagram posts, to news content or otherwise.

Social media sites where people often get news including Twitter and Reddit have not changed.

Media code that prompted Facebook's war on Australia passes the Senate

  Media code that prompted Facebook's war on Australia passes the Senate Australia's world-first media bargaining code that will force online powerhouses including Facebook and Google to pay for displaying news content has passed the Senate.The code, seen as a pivotal step in regulating big tech and ensuring they pay their fair share for locally produced journalism content, will be sent back to the House of Representatives after amendments were made but is expected to pass Thursday.

A Google search will still bring up news articles — although Google is similarly unhappy with the government's media bargaining laws.

What happens next?

According to Facebook, we should see the government pages affected come back online imminently.

Facebook released a statement saying government pages should not be impacted by today's announcement.

"As the law does not provide clear guidance on the definition of news content, we have taken a broad definition in order to respect the law as drafted," the statement said.

However, we will reverse any pages that are inadvertently impacted."

Facebook and the government are continuing discussions, and it remains to be seen if the news ban will be loosened or reversed in the future.

Mr Frydenberg tweeted that he had held "constructive" talks with Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg this morning, while Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said Facebook should


Video: Facebook blocks news from Australia, dozens of public information pages wiped (Reuters)

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