The Queensland Health Facebook page containing vital coronavirus pandemic information has been disabled, as part of Facebook’s attack on Australian news on Thursday.
Brisbane City Council and Bureau of Meteorology Australia pages were also down. Accounts belonging to the state’s emergency services – police, fire and ambulance – remain untouched.
Historical COVID-19 information disappeared from the Queensland Health Facebook page overnight.Credit:Facebook
Official Facebook pages belonging to Nine metropolitan mastheads – Brisbane Times, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and WAtoday – were also hit and disabled.
Other news accounts targeted include The Courier-Mail, ABC News national and Queensland pages, 9 News Queensland, Guardian Australia, The Australian and Australian Financial Review.
Articles published by online youth publication Junkee Media and satirical news websites The Betoota Advocate and The Chaser were also removed.
The ban appears to have come into effect for at least some users, who are now unable to post links to Australian news articles on their Facebook pages or see past articles posted by media companies.
International articles from newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times also cannot be viewed or reposted by Australian users.
Facebook groups run by news outlets are still live.
Facebook has banned publishers and users in Australia from sharing or viewing any news articles on its platform in response to the Morrison government’s proposed media bargaining laws.
The bargaining code, which passed through the House of Representatives on Wednesday night, will require social media companies to pay media outlets for using their content.
In a blog post on Thursday (AEDT) Facebook said that it had carried through on the threat made in September after being unable to find a solution in discussions with the Australian government.
“The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content,” William Easton, Facebook’s Australia and New Zealand managing director, said.
“It has left us facing a stark choice: attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter.
“Unfortunately, this means people and news organisations in Australia are now restricted from posting news links and sharing or viewing Australian and international news content on Facebook.”
– with Zoe Samios, Lisa Visentin and Matthew Knott
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