In Australia, Facebook users are caught in the middle of a bitter struggle between the social media giant and the Australian government.
It began on Wednesday when Facebook users woke to find sharing links of any local or international news stories weren’t allowed.
Also, Australian News publishers were blocked from sharing their stories and stopped global users from sharing news articles published in Australia.
All this stems from the latest Media Bargaining Code set by the government to prevent the tech firm’s decimation of news as it wants companies such as Google and Facebook to share revenue with local news publishers.
Here you can learn more about what’s going on and how you may be able to get around some of the restrictions.
Why is Facebook Banning Australian News?
Facebook Australia thinks it is offering more to local news companies than what it receives in return from such news companies.
The company’s head in Australia and New Zealand, Will Easton, Managing Director, had a lot to say in his blog post about the subject. Here’s a stripped-down version.
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In response to the Media Bargaining law, Facebook now restricts users and publishers in Australia from either posting or viewing any Australian and international news content.
The law doesn’t understand relationships between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content. We have chosen to take these steps to comply with laws ignoring the realities of such a relationship or stop allowing news content on services in Australia.
Google Search is entangled with news, and publishers don’t provide content voluntarily. Besides, publishers choose to post news on Facebook, selling more subscriptions and expanding audiences.
We have pointed out to the Australian government, the value of exchange between Facebook and publishers is in favour of publishers. Last year Facebook helped generate nearly 5.1 billion free referrals to Australian publishers at a value of around AU$407 million.
Business gain from news on FB is minimal as News makes up less than 4% of content people see in their News Feed. FB builds free tools for news organisations around the world for innovation in providing content online.
Unfortunately, the legislation seeks to penalise Facebook for content it didn’t take or ask for.
William Easton stated they were ready to launch Facebook News, yet the legislation shows the government decides who can enter news content agreements, how much they get paid.
Independent experts outlined problems with the legislation. The government has made changes yet fails to understand how our services work.
As a result, people and news organisations in Australia are restricted from posting news links or sharing or viewing Australian and international news content on Facebook, thanks to the Media Bargaining Code. Global, posting and sharing news, media, and more links from Australian publishers is also restricted.
How Long Can Facebook Ban You For?
The ban on the news could all be down to the social media giant and how they decide to play this out.
The action saw months of tension with the Australian government, forcing tech platforms to pay news publishers for content. Publishers, lawmakers, and execs are monitoring Facebook’s Australian ban.
All Australian news organisations are no longer able to post content to their Facebook pages, and people based in Australia cannot access links to news articles from either Australian or international news sites.
On Thursday, the block affected many non-news site pages; included in this was state health departments, the West Australian fire and emergency services page, charities, support for victims of family violence pages, and union pages; however, some of these were restored.
If you are based in Australia, you will not be able to access news, play video or post links to news sites from Australia or overseas. There is a pop-up explaining why you can’t post the link on the tech giant pages.
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Some government pages could also be blocked, although they are trying to sort this out.
If you are based outside of Australia, you can’t post links to Australian news sites. One example is the ABC News Facebook page has ‘no posts yet’ as this was caught up in the ban, as are other news outlets.
Why Did I Get Banned from Facebook?
With the proposed code and ban on the news on Facebook, the impact of this is yet unknown. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he’d spoken to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg from the tech giant again, trying to resolve the issue.
The legislation was passed by the House of Representatives and will be debated by the Senate in the near future. The government may finally make amendments based on Facebook negotiations, which may see news return.
As it stands, Facebook news banned is as it was, and FB hasn’t shown willingness to back down, aside from the unblocking government-run pages.
How Do You Tell If You Have Been Banned on Facebook?
If you are a Facebook member, you will see messages saying you can’t access certain news, media or follow links while using Facebook in Australia. If you used to access media companies FB pages for fact-checking or enjoyment, now you can’t.
Many users still ask why did Facebook ban Australian news? Some are upset, and it leads them to search how to delete Facebook account as a result.
You can still use other FB products and services, so long as your videos are not news-related or the video player dialogue window will show an error.
If you wish to try and get around this ban, you could potentially use a premium VPN. With these, you can make it appear as if your location is outside Australia.
RELATED: Find the Best VPN for Australia and start unblocking Facebook News.
VPN’s hide your location and thus your identity, and while you may not see any news from Facebook Australia, it will allow you to access news from overseas that may be of interest possibly.