Breaking news: Facebook breaks news (and other pages) for Australian users

Graham Cluley
@gcluley

AS BBC News reports, Facebook – angry that the Australian government wants it and other tech giants to pay for content reposted from media outlets – has blocked users in Australia from sharing or viewing news content on the platform.

And in characteristic style, they’ve made a right pig’s ear of it.

Sure enough, pages like ABC News are now blank for Australian users.

As are radio stations:

And… errr.. conservation organisation WWF Australia:

And uh, tech company Motorola:

As well as government health organisations (hey, good thing that there isn’t a global pandemic going on, eh?):

At least there’s something to be amused by. Facebook’s dumb algorithm even managed to ban the official Facebook page:

What a bunch of drongos.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

6 comments on “Breaking news: Facebook breaks news (and other pages) for Australian users”

  1. What did the Australian government expect would happen if it was trying to force Facebook to pay just for letting users link to a news article?

    Also, I read elsewhere that Facebook blocked all pages immediately when the law came into effect and then it's going to go through them all and then define which ones are news. It's not a case of their algorithms messing up.

    1. Still smells of incompetency and a lack of planning.

      I don't think it's going to win them any friends… and presumably some non-news advertisers will have been hit by this as well.

      What's that old Facebook motto? Move fast and break things.

    2. Ummm… the law hasn't gone into effect… it hasn't even been passed… in fact it hasn't been debated in parliament as yet.

      BTW… even my small sporting club's FarceBook page was blocked. I never realised we were newsworthy!

  2. Graham is right, they have made a pig's ear out of it and to make it worse, the legislation hasn't even been passed by the Senate yet and that needs to happen before it becomes law. It's also been reported that the Australian Government held "constructive" talks with Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg this morning but no mention of an outcome yet.

  3. Graham, I followed your advice (not to early) and left Fakebook. Never was with the twaters of tweet.
    Parler is finally back and the GAB would let you post anything>>>>almost.
    To bad that these tools are all leftists. But again, is just what the New World Order promised all of us.
    What would Winston Churchill say?

  4. As much as I detest facebook, they are right and I agree with their stand.

    The media (lets not mix words this is murdochs idea and has pushed hard for it) write an article, they post that article on their site, THEY share that article on facebook, with the sole intention of trying to extend their audience, so THEY put it on facebook to use facebooks resources, but THEY expect facebook to pay THEM for that?
    In what reality is that a fair thing.

    As for Google, thats different, as Google scrapes the internet, its what they do, but it sure as hell is not what facebook, twitter insta and so on do.

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