Hear Me Roar
18 Feb 2021
What happens when there are too many egos at the table?
Inevitably someone takes the high road and it ends in tears. In this case, Facebook is well on her way up the mountain, she roared and well, we listened. Love it or hate it Facebook has 2.7 Billion active users globally and over 17 Million active users in Australia. As a platform it’s powerful, it’s free to use, it can swiftly elevate or decimate a brand, a business, a person or a news story.
Arguably there may be some merit in paying for content. However, Facebook's position is that it is simply sharing the content so it shouldn’t need to pay for it. The criteria that defines what constitutes news has been left very broad - so today - Facebook used this to its advantage, swiftly cutting off pages that even remotely looked or smelt like news and it hurt AND got a reaction.
Facebook reported “.... the law does not provide a clear guidance on the definition of news content, we have taken a broad definition in order to respect the law as drafted,” they have gone on to say they will ensure any page that is affected unjustly will be reinstated.
Australia is holding firm.
Months have gone into quietly trying to negotiate an equitable position for publishers essentially with new laws - News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining basically the new law would force Facebook and Google to pay publishers if they host their content. This stems from the slow and arduous decline of a profession that we all need and rely on, journalism and over the last decade I have listened to panels of experts discussing what is an antiquated model and no resolution has been found. Google is continuing to play nice, Facebook, not so much, she’s taking no prisoners and she has cut Australian news entirely!
I think the activation has been swift and harsh, and deliberate. A blanket wipe of anything that even remotely resembles a news site - and resulting in unfairly shutting down some very innocent bystanders. What is concerning is we, the humble user, have come to rely on real-time updates on our Facebook feeds - whether its product recalls, bushfires or a Pandemic.
Ok … so no one likes to be regulated, so Facebook has decided to cut Australia off before it can be.
Let’s see who blinks!
And just in … Facebook apologises for blocking health and emergency services. Well, it got our attention.
As always my opinion only, so let me know yours.