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Australia Reacts to a Facebook Without News

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If you’re studying this, it’s not as a result of somebody you recognize posted it on Facebook. Though most readers of the Australia Letter come to it through their inboxes, a honest variety of individuals discover our weekly dispatches thanks to associates sharing on Facebook. Some people click on by hyperlinks posted on the New York Times Australia Facebook page. But no extra.

As of yesterday, Facebook is no longer allowing Australian users to view or publish information tales on the platform. This goes for native and worldwide media organizations, together with The New York Times. It additionally will not be permitting Australian media organizations to publish content material to customers exterior of Australia — and all of this in response to a proposed Australian regulation that will require tech corporations to pay publishers for articles seen throughout their platforms.

It’s no secret that almost all media corporations (The New York Times included) get a substantial portion of their net visitors from Facebook. In essence, Facebook is looking the bluff of the Australian regulation and the media corporations pushing for it — they’re saying, in impact, you want us greater than we want you.

But for a lot of customers, this additionally modifications the perform of Facebook considerably. Long gone are the times when Facebook was simply a place to meet up with faraway relations and stalk previous lovers — like numerous individuals, I depend on it (and different social media platforms, Twitter specifically) to let the media corporations I observe ship breaking information, and to see what articles associates are sharing.

Our bureau chief, Damien Cave, wrote yesterday about the reactions of Australians, in addition to the truth that many non-news pages — authorities companies, nonprofits — have been caught within the dragnet (whereas conspiracy pages with hyperlinks to false information have been unaffected).

On the NYT Australia Facebook page, I requested for reactions from readers who might now not publish or discover information on the positioning. Within hours, there have been a whole bunch of feedback. The dismay was pretty common (with the occasional remark alongside the traces of: “I have all the news apps, it doesn’t affect me”), however opinions about the place to lay the blame tended to diverge.

“It shows how much power social media companies have, and the concerns with what happens when that is unchecked,” Hanna Carson wrote. “Many people applauded when Trump was banned from Twitter and other social media — and I understand that sentiment — but that action effectively silenced him. How many Australians will choose to actively seek out news on other platforms — or go to a news site to get it directly? These are the actions I’d expect from a totalitarian government, not from a private enterprise.”

Many others blamed the greed of Australian information corporations and the politicians who assist them.

“We are victims of an Australian Government which acts as a lap dog for the Murdoch media who in turn have companies like The Guardian trailing in their wake, all with their hands out to squeeze the big technos via the Federal Government,” wrote Brian Blackwell. “It’s the consumer who is being done over.”


Alison Mooney kind of agreed: “This reeks of our government acting on behalf of Murdoch, and how truly out of touch Australia’s leaders are,” she wrote. “As if Facebook would agree to this, imagine the precedent it would set globally!”

Australians being Australians, discovering humor in each battle, there have been additionally fairly a few readers who have been frightened particularly about The Betoota Advocate, Australia’s much-loved satirical newspaper, which lots of you may be completely happy to know, lives on in the Facebook universe with its web page intact.

Gabriella Coslovich, nevertheless, could have offered essentially the most helpful gem of perception, with a quite simple reminder: “We all managed before Facebook.”

How do you’re feeling about Facebook’s resolution to ban information in Australia? And have your social media habits modified — if that’s the case, how? Let us know at [email protected].

Here are this week’s tales:



Last week, we asked what you thought of Australia’s decision to host the Australian Open. Here are some reader responses:

I believe it’s *insane* to quarantine athletes and their groups in lodges in our most densely populated cities. They must be housed within the nation in correct quarantine quarters or no less than in caravan park-type lodging in locations the place the inhabitants is sparse and in communities that basically want the inflow of money. Plus, within the nation in these settings, the athletes would have entry to the outside for his or her coaching — and maintain far, distant from our densest inhabitants facilities for the 14 day quarantine interval.

— Joanne Jaworowski

I reside in Melbourne. I believed the choice to host the Australian Open was a mistake, and I’m not alone. I’ve usually attended the Open in previous years, however not this 12 months. Many Australians are caught abroad, unable to return. Here in Australia, whereas we’ve got lately been in a position to reside comparatively usually, we really feel like sitting geese for these new Covid variants. Our state governments have been liable for holding the virus underneath management. Their actions have been in defiance of Scott Morrison, who, with out the interference of the states, would have opened issues up, and even now could be lagging properly behind different international locations in rolling out the vaccines. Holding the Open in the midst of a very harmful pandemic was harmful and pointless.


— Anne Arnott

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