Big Tech social media giant Facebook announced it has blocked Australians from viewing news on its platform due to proposed law changes that would make digital companies pay for journalism. This includes Australians blocked from sharing Australian or international news, as well as international users unable to share Australian news.
While the company’s concerns regarding the proposed law changes may be valid, the change in access has left Australians, and many others, baffled. In contrast, Google is working with Australian news companies on its own pay deal, while ABC and others consider separate pay packages.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison responded on Facebook that the company’s blocks are “as arrogant as they were disappointing.”
Facebook has already been reeling from the aftermath of censorship on users following its response to the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot. However, this latest move targeting an entire democratic nation has been taken as a very bad PR move.
For others, the block has been viewed as a censorship attack. Elaine Pearson, Australia director at Human Rights Watch, tweeted, “Facebook is severely restricting the flow of information to Australians. Not just news sites, but also information on government health, emergency services & police pages. This is an alarming & dangerous turn of events.”
Peter Lewis, director of the Australia Institute’s Center for Responsible Technology think tank, argued, “Facebook actions mean the company’s failures in privacy, disinformation, and data protection will require a bigger push for stronger government regulation. Without fact-based news to anchor it, Facebook will become little more than cute cats and conspiracy theories.”
Lewis notes what many Americans already realize. Facebook has lost credibility as a reputable source for news through its pick-and-choose censorship. The social media behemoth banned Donald Trump while he was the nation’s sitting president. A wide variety of other conservative voices have also been silenced, revealing the corporation’s leftist bias.
It doesn’t help that numerous Biden administration cabinet members have an employment history with Facebook. Nor does it seem above board to recognize the millions of dollars funneled by Facebook leaders toward Biden’s presidential campaign.
Project Veritas even recently released a series of recordings with Facebook leadership to document many of the company’s politically liberal policies. As predicted, Twitter soon banned their account, supporting their Big Tech counterpart.
Yet Project Veritas sheds light on important internal changes taking place within the company. For example, a recording featuring Guy Rosen, Facebook VP of Integrity, shared, “We have a system that is able to freeze commenting on threads in cases where our systems are detecting that there may be a thread that has hate speech or violence…these are all things we’ve built over the past three-four years as part of our investments into the integrity space our efforts to protect the election.”
Australia’s block continues the censorship of Facebook, extending impact well beyond American borders. America needs a strong response to remind Zuckerberg and company we are a nation that protects free speech, not one that limits it.