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'Sort this out': Facebook's chaotic news ban in Australia blocks pages for fire services, charities and politicians

February 18, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 20.2%. 1 min read.

Fire and emergency services. Domestic violence charities. State health agencies.

Facebook's sudden and dramatic decision to block people from sharing news in Australia has had unexpected consequences for a wide range of government organizations and service groups, who woke up Thursday to find that their pages had been inexplicably swept up in the company's far-reaching ban, too.

The American social media giant said Wednesday that it would stop people in Australia from sharing or viewing news from local and international outlets in response to proposed legislation in the country that would force tech firms to pay news publishers for content.

Facebook said in a statement that government pages "should not be impacted" by the announcement, adding that its actions were focused on "restricting publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content. "

Greens Party Senator Larissa Waters said on Twitter that blocking access to Facebook pages for women's domestic violence services was "utterly reprehensible. "

But for years, publishers have said platforms like Google (GOOGL) and Facebook (FB) take unfair advantage of the news media, giving them little in return.

Neilson said in a commentary that Facebook's rapid removal of Australian news content raised questions about how serious it is about cracking down on dangerous misinformation on its platform, much of which has lingered for years without being banned.

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