Facebook’s botched Australia news ban hits health departments, charities and its own pages

The Bureau of Meteorology, state health departments, the Western Australian opposition leader, charities and Facebook itself are among those to have been hit by Facebook’s ban on news in Australia.

On Thursday morning Facebook began preventing Australian news sites from posting, while also stopping Australian users from sharing or viewing content from any news outlets, both Australian and international.

The social media giant said it made the decision in response to the news media bargaining code currently before the Senate, which would force Facebook and Google to negotiate with news companies for payment for content.

While the ban was only meant to target Australian news publishers, dozens of pages run by key government agencies, community pages, union pages, charity organisations and politicians were also blocked for several hours.

Australia’s main source of weather information, the Bureau of Meteorology, said on Thursday morning that it had been blocked, and was advising users to go to its direct website, app or Twitter page.

As Australia prepares to begin the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines, state health departments, including SA Health and Queensland Health, were unable to post.$

By Josh Taylor – theguardian.com

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