Melbourne- Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg mentioned that it was ‘unnecessary’ and ‘wrong’ for Facebook to block Australian users from all the news content.
On Thursday, Frydenberg mentioned, “Facebook was wrong. Facebook’s actions were unnecessary. They were heavy-handed and they will damage its reputation here in Australia.” He also added, “Their decision to block Australians’ access to government sites — be they about support through the pandemic, mental health, emergency services, the Bureau of Meteorology — were completely unrelated to the media code, which is yet to pass through the Senate.”
Currently, the Australian parliament is expected to pass a new media bill that needs online platforms like Google and Facebook for linking and displaying their content.
Facebook took the decision in contrast to that of Google. On Wednesday, it has approved a revenue-sharing deal with Australian media conglomerate News Crop. It owns media outlets that involve The Wall Street Journal and New York Post.
In addition to pages run by news outlets. There are several government-backed Australian accounts that were also wiped and cleaned by Facebook on Thursday morning as reported by Reuters. However, the government pages involve those providing advice on the Covid and bushfire threats, as per the news agency.
Human rights advocates even criticized Facebook’s move. Elaine Pearson, an Australian director at Human Rights watch posted on Twitter about the social media giant restricting important information like Covid-19 updates.
She mentioned, “Facebook is severely restricting the flow of information to Australians. This is an alarming and dangerous turn of events. Cutting off access to vital information to an entire country in the dead of the night is unconscionable.”