Facebook Endangered Lives With Hasty News Blockade Claims Australian Treasurer
Yesterday, Facebook banned Australian news from being shared internationally via its social network, and banned Australians from viewing or sharing any news on the platform. This action inadvertently roped in unrelated Facebook webpages and ultimately caused Australian outcry. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg went on Today to express his disappointment with Facebook.
During his interview, Frydenberg explained that when Facebook moved to pull news sharing for Australia, the company “endangered public safety.” Australians lost access to information about vaccines, domestic violence help, fire and rescue, and other public services on Facebook without any advance notice. Moreover, he called the move “outrageous” and expressed further disappointment with the social media company. You can see the entire interview below on 9 News Australia’s YouTube channel.
Though what Facebook did for Australians was not great, Frydenberg explained that he wants to find a way forward with Facebook as has been done with other big search engine and social media companies. Even Google, which initially expressed disdain over the proposed law, had a conversation with the Australian government to compromise and create amendments to said law. Hopefully, we will see the same happen with Facebook to resolve the issues at hand.
Having these issues resolved now will save trouble down the road when other countries decide to enact the same or similar laws. According to Reuters, Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, who is in charge of similar legislation set to be unveiled, stated that Australia's stumbling blocks would not deter Ottawa from enacting similar laws. We will also likely see other countries fall in line behind Australia and Canada in the coming weeks as new regulations go into place in the first countries making the rules.
Overall, it will be interesting to watch the countries taking the first steps into this process as they will shape the future of media laws worldwide. Moreover, Facebook coming to the negotiation and discussion table can smooth out issues before laws are enacted. In any case, let us know what you think of this whole fiasco in the comments below.