(AUSTRALIA) Facebook Restricted Access on ‘News Feeds’ here’s what it means to YOU #AceNewsDesk report

Yeah, No More Facebook 😂🤣

#AceNewsReport – Feb.18: 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.

LATEST: UPDATE: Facebook just restricted access to news in Australia. Here’s what that means for you: Let’s unpack what we know so far and how we got here.

Facebook has restricted access to news in Australia: Ace Daily News will provide it on their page here:

Posted 8h ago, updated 2h ago

Play Video. Duration: 8 minutes 24 seconds
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher on Facebook banning news

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.

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”.

A screenshot of the ABC News page on Facebook showing no posts
Facebook has confirmed the changes have already been applied, however some users report being still able to view and post restricted content.(Supplied)

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.

A screenshot of Facebook's facebook page
The main interface for Facebook’s Facebook page is now blank.(Supplied: Facebook)

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.

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”.

The message desktop users of Facebook see upon opening the website.(Supplied: Facebook)

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.

An error message on Facebook
The error message that appears when someone in Australia tries to share a news article on Facebook.(Supplied: Facebook)

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.

Facebook has removed the @BOM_au page amidst the shutdown of Australian news pages, and on a day with flooding rain in QLD and catastrophic fire danger in WA. Warnings need to get to as wide an audience as possible as a matter of safety. Shocking.— Nate Byrne (@SciNate) February 17, 2021

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.

It’s not just big news orgs bearing the brunt of the News ban by @Facebook. Smaller Indigenous and community media orgs are too. Vital for getting info out about COVID, telecommunications outages and emergencies to communities.— Sarah Collard (@Sarah_Collard_) February 17, 2021

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.

Play Video. Duration: 31 seconds
Shadow Communications Minister says Facebook’s decision is ‘profound’

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.Crushed: Digital giants vs Australian mediaWithin a couple of years the likes of Google and Facebook will devour more than half local ad revenues, leaving only crumbs for traditional media players.Read more

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

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.Loading

“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.” Loading

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 “think very carefully about what this means for its reputation and standing”.

Play Video. Duration: 1 minute 52 seconds
Have we reached a turning point for big tech and the responsibility companies take for what happens on their platforms?

#AceNewsDesk report ……..Published: Feb.18: 2021:

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