Tuesday, February 23

Australian News Blackout Shows Facebook’s Promise to Fight Disinformation a Sham | Facebook


IAmid a global pandemic and following the announcement that they will ban fake vaccine news, Facebook announced Thursday that they will prevent Australians from sharing or viewing real news in Australia.

The dramatic move comes as Australia is about to pass legislation that would force Facebook to negotiate a fair payment for news content. Facebook has previously warned that it will respond in this way and, unlike Google, it has not announced its own deals with media organizations.

They are willing to abandon the main source of accurate and verified information on their platform to avoid falling for the media’s trading code.

The platform has previously acknowledged that it has a “significant problem” with disinformation – and that users deeply value accurate information on the platform. They have publicly committed to “creating new products to stop the spread of fake news ”.

But they have decided to shut down the real news.

This makes his public commitment to combat misinformation seem like a sham.

It also pokes fun at his public commitment to the “long-term vitality of Australia’s news and media industry.” Facebook clearly never had the “best interests of the media industry” in mind. The media industry will suffer as a result of this – they rely heavily on referral traffic from Facebook.

More deeply, if Facebook really cared about encouraging Australians to share news and accurate information on its platform, they wouldn’t eliminate the ability to do so. If they really cared about fighting misinformation on their platform, they wouldn’t make it worse.

The ban on factual news content is even interfering with organizations that have nothing to do with the news and everything that has to do with the timely delivery of the facts – the Bureau of Meteorology was taken down by Facebook on Thursday in the middle of torrential rains in Queensland and catastrophic fire warnings in Washington. . Australian local councils and charities have been eliminated or affected.

If you’re looking for factual information of any kind on Facebook today, you’re a mess. This is also a sign of what is to come – we can no longer rely on this platform for factual information.

During a health crisis or during an emergency, accurate and timely information must be delivered quickly to the Australian population; The media and government organizations are central to this response. Previously, so was Facebook. He had worked hard to make this the case.

More than a third of Australians trust Facebook for news and updates. His “Crisis response” The pages, which appear during crises such as floods or fires, provide quick and timely links to sources of news and proven information.

Australians are highly dependent on crisis response, especially in rural areas. It is an increasingly important component of Australia’s emergency response. To achieve this in Australia, a study in Australia and New Zealand found that Facebook must monitor and track both traditional and new sources of information and problems in the media – and quickly display them in Crisis Response. This emergency response function will also be paralyzed.

They shoot themselves in the foot.

By deciding to eliminate the main source of accurate and verified information on their platform, they have ensured that their product is suddenly less valuable. It will not be the platform Australians can rely on during an emergency, or to keep abreast of what is happening as it happens.

We will not be able to share news and we will not be able to access them, even from some government organizations if Thursday is something to go through. We will have to find alternative platforms and methods to stay informed.

• Belinda Barnet is Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne.

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www.theguardian.com

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