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Facebook blocks Australian news sites

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 2/18/21, 03:03 pm

Social media users Down Under discovered on Thursday they couldn’t share news stories on Facebook, and users around the world couldn’t view or share news posts from the country. Facebook also blocked Australian news organizations from posting stories to their accounts.

Why would Facebook do that? The country’s House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation to make social media platforms work out compensation plans with local news companies for their content. The bill still requires approval from the Senate before becoming law. Google threatened to remove its search functions from the country before it struck deals with some Australian media companies. The Facebook shutdown affected some non-news organizations and government pages, including health, fire, and emergency services. The company said it would restore pages that were “inadvertently impacted.” But many organizations, including the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, reported they still didn’t have access to their feeds hours later.

Dig deeper: Read Steve West’s report on the battle over Big Tech censorship.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD's Africa reporter. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria. Follow her on Twitter @onize_ohiks.

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