‘Disgrace’: Facebook lashed for blocking COVID-19 info

The PM is taking dramatic motion as he unleashed on Facebook in a fiery submit after the platform blocked Aussies from accessing information.

In a prolonged submit printed on the identical social media platform he was scolding, Scott Morrison mentioned quite a few nations had been involved concerning the behaviour of BigTech corporations.

“I’m in common contact with the leaders of different nations on these points,” he wrote within the submit.

“These actions will solely verify the considerations that an rising variety of nations are expressing concerning the behaviour of BigTech corporations who assume they’re greater than governments and that the principles mustn’t apply to them.”

Scott Morrison’s post on Facebook.
Digital camera IconScott Morrison’s submit on Facebook. Credit score: NCA NewsWire

Mr Morrison mentioned his authorities wouldn’t waver following the social media big’s aggressive response as parliament votes on the brand new media bargaining code.

“Simply as we weren’t intimidated when Amazon threatened to depart the nation and when Australia drew different nations collectively to fight the publishing of terrorist content material on social media platforms,” he wrote within the submit.

In addition to the ban on main information organisations, Australians had been additionally prevented from accessing public security pages, together with state and territory well being info, and the Bureau of Meteorology.

Well being Minister Greg Hunt lashed Facebook as a “shame” for blocking dementia info websites and the Children Most cancers Undertaking.

“We’re profoundly shocked that they’d take motion that may have an effect on well being and appropriately associated websites,” he mentioned on Thursday.

Greg Hunt has labelled Facebook a “disgrace” for blocking key COVID-19 and children’s cancer information.
Digital camera IconGreg Hunt has labelled Facebook a “shame” for blocking key COVID-19 and kids’s most cancers info. Credit score: Information Corp Australia, NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

“The truth that the Children Most cancers Undertaking could possibly be affected is frankly a shame. Facebook ought to repair it and they need to handle that instantly.”

The federal government has pushed forward with its plan to power tech giants to pay information shops for content material accessed through their platforms.

Facebook mentioned the code didn’t present clear steering on what constituted information, however would work to make sure authorities pages had been made obtainable.

The social media big has been lashed for being too lax in cracking down on COVID-19 disinformation, a concern exacerbated by its determination to limit respected information shops.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg mentioned Facebook’s determination to droop entry to pages “fully unrelated to the code” confirmed tech giants had been uncontrolled.

“What at present’s occasions do verify for all Australians is the immense market energy of those digital media giants. These digital giants loom very, very massive in our economic system and on the digital panorama,” he mentioned.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher have been negotiating with the tech giants over the news media bargaining code.
Digital camera IconPrime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher have been negotiating with the tech giants over the information media bargaining code. Credit score: Provided, Adam Taylor / PMO

It comes regardless of an indication from Facebook the measure might not final.

In an announcement the tech big on Wednesday mentioned it was proscribing information with “a heavy coronary heart”.

However within the final line of the assertion, there may be additionally a glimmer of hope it might change its thoughts.

“We hope that sooner or later the Australian authorities will recognise the worth we already present and work with us to strengthen, fairly than restrict, our partnerships with publishers,” it wrote.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who has been main the federal government’s efforts to make tech giants pay for information content material, has revealed he had a “constructive dialogue” with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday morning.

“He raised a couple of remaining points with the federal government’s information media bargaining code and we agreed to proceed our dialog to attempt to discover a pathway ahead,” Mr Frydenberg wrote on Twitter.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher informed ABC Breakfast that Facebook’s transfer was an indicator of the influence of the invoice.

“We will probably be continuing with the code,” Mr Fletcher mentioned.

“We wish Google and Facebook to remain in Australia, however we’ve got been very clear that when you do enterprise in Australia, that you must adjust to the legal guidelines handed by the elected parliament of this nation.”

Mr Fletcher mentioned the federal government was persevering with to talk with Facebook however warned the platform wanted to consider what the ban meant for its “status and standing”.

“They’re successfully saying, on our platform, there won’t be any info from organisations which make use of paid journalists which have fact-checking processes, editorial insurance policies.

“They’re successfully saying any info that’s obtainable on our web site doesn’t come from these dependable sources.”

Paul Fletcher said the government was not backing away from its news media bargaining code.
Digital camera IconPaul Fletcher mentioned the federal government was not backing away from its information media bargaining code. Credit score: Information Corp Australia, NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage

Mr Fletcher mentioned a various, well-resourced media sector was an essential a part of Australia’s democratic course of.

Opposition communications spokeswoman, Michelle Rowland, mentioned the federal government wanted to clarify what was occurring and what the influence could be.

“Not solely that, what it intends to do about it,” Ms Rowland mentioned.

“We want a workable code.”

However crossbench senator Jacqui Lambie has urged the federal government to return to the negotiating desk.

“If I used to be the Minister and the Treasurer I might be going again to the desk pretty shortly as a result of that’s actually going to harm Australian journalists on the market,” she informed Sky Information.

“If meaning we’ve got to provide slightly bit and bow slightly bit, then perhaps it is likely to be price it for the ache we’re going to pay.”

Senator Lambie warned it was “very regarding” that conspiracy theories might reign on the platform with out dependable information.

Nationals senator Matt Canavan accused Facebook of attempting to “bully and threaten” the Australian parliament.

“Facebook is attempting to make an instance of us,” he informed Sky Information.

“I don’t assume we should always buckle.”

Greens media spokeswoman, Sarah Hanson-Younger, informed Facebook to develop up.

“Facebook continually makes excuses for why it permits faux information to be unfold on their platform but in a single day has blocked actual information,” she mentioned.

“Australia’s democracy isn’t a school dorm room, and enjoying with public curiosity journalism isn’t a recreation.”

Google had additionally threatened to take away its search engine from Australia in retaliation however has now signed offers with the key information shops.

Information Corp on Thursday introduced it had signed a worldwide licensing take care of Google to make “important funds” for displaying its content material the world over on its Google Information Showcase.