Changes to Sharing and Viewing News on Facebook in Australia

18 Feb 2021

You may have heard by now that social media giant, Facebook, has restricted all publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content on its platform.

The dramatic move, a response to a proposed media bargaining code which looks to force Facebook to pay for original news, has dramatic implications for the way people use social media.

What has Facebook done?

Facebook has banned all Australian and international news – and pages that appear to be news – from appearing on the timelines of Australian users. If you go to a publisher’s Facebook page, such as ABC Radio National, it will display a message saying “no posts yet”.

Why has Facebook done this?

Facebook’s move is in response to a proposed media bargaining code the Federal Government was progressing towards legislating. Under the code, Facebook would have to pay publishers to feature their original news content.

If there was no agreement on a fair amount to be paid, it would then go to arbitration.

In an open letter, Facebook Australia and New Zealand’s Managing Director William Easton claimed the law “misunderstands” how Facebook works.

Can I still log onto Facebook?

Absolutely. Your personal profile remains unaffected. It could mean that your news feed will look totally different – news stories about and from your local area will not appear in your timeline.

At the moment, updates from some emergency services will not appear and you will not get posts from the Bureau of Meteorology about weather warnings in your local area…..even Bananas in Pajamas have been caught in the crossfire!

It is unclear if this is a permanent ban or if these organisations have been inadvertently caught up in Facebook’s move to block news content. All that will appear will be posts from your friends, posts from pages deemed not to be news, and posts from groups that you are a member.

Can I continue to advertise my business on Facebook?

You certainly can. You may be worried about the future and what that means for advertising your business on Facebook. At this stage, advertising has remained unaffected by this latest movement. If you are currently advertising on Facebook, or looking to do so, look at this as a great opportunity to get your brand in front of people right now as their news feeds are now predominantly filled with funny cat videos or their favourite Aunt’s latest holiday photos.

Rest at ease, we are here to help and will update you on the latest movements of the legislation (and Facebook’s response) as they come to light.

Please feel free to read the official statement released by William Easton, Managing Director of Facebook Australia & New Zealand HERE.