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Facebook is accused of deliberately blocking government and health care pages in Australia

It would be a very serious issue for all users of the platform, beyond the local issue

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What happened less than a year ago to Facebook in Australia is known to anyone who reads the pages of Journalism. In full conflict between the government and Menlo Park over the issue of compensation for the media whose content had been used on the platform, Facebook had decided to stop sharing news on the social network, limited to the Australian territory. This had happened not only for newspapers or editorial products, but also for the news that came from government agencies, including health institutions. Then, following a more moderate revision of the rule, Facebook’s services were back in regular fashion in Australia. However, some whistleblowers have accused the company of continuing with this last limitation, relating to governmental and health institutions. And the fact, if confirmed, would be very serious.

Facebook in Australia and the accusation of whistleblowers on government and health pages

The Wall Street Journal reported this allegation. An internal document points out that “if 60% or more of the content of a domain shared on Facebook is classified as news, the entire domain will be considered a news domain.” Facebook last year, as mentioned, had blocked the pages of sites or news platforms and, consequently, had also put a stop to other institutions that used content that was themselves “newsworthy” to provide their information.

“The documents in question clearly show that we intended to exempt Australian government pages from restrictions in an attempt to minimize the impact of this misleading and harmful legislation,” said Andy Stone, the Facebook spokesperson interviewed by the WSJ. When we were unable to do this as expected due to a technical error, we apologized and worked to correct this error. Any suggestion to the contrary is categorically and obviously false ». It happened, and we talked about it even a year ago, that Facebook in Australia had blocked government and health content ( among other things right before the start of the vaccination campaign): according to the company, however, this was a quickly fixed error. The whistleblower accusations, on the other hand, speak of a deliberate choice, which would leak out from some internal documents.


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