Facebook and the Australia News Blockade

Many people have been saying that Facebook has been in decline for some time. Still, if you’re a small business owner, it’s almost impossible to remain credible and not have a Facebook presence. As a photographer the same really goes for Instagram. Its already a lot of work to keep across multiple platforms. To have one of those platforms and all your content and reach disappear overnight is disturbing and distressing. It didn’t happen to me, at least not yet.

And while the intent may have been to block only news sites, the reality was that many others got caught up in the Facebook algorithm. Whether this was deliberate or for effect we may never know.

I don’t know enough about the proposed legislation or any negotiations underway to make a statement about the proposed law. I am confident that what Facebook did was to make a show of strength, to fire a warning shot across the bows of any other country thinking to take that on. I do know that I have significant concerns about the power that the transitional news media giant has. Both bother me a lot.

The news blockade imposed by Facebook on 18 February 2021 was a timely reminder that we have no control over platforms that we don’t own or pay for. It’s a reminder to me that the only place I really have any control is here, on my blog and website. I’ve never paid to advertise on Facebook, but recent events would have me thinking long and hard before considering doing so. Facebook has become rich on the data that you and I have freely provided, and yes in return we’ve had our share of connectedness and kitten videos. We’ve also had a daily does of trolling and misinformation.

In my view Facebook has forgone the higher ground here. Will I stop using Facebook? I really don’t know. I have a number of groups that I value and without a credible alternative it would be hard to walk away from. But that’s the problem isn’t it. It’s a monopoly that is hard to walk away from.

If you want to be confident you can hear from me, this will be the place to do so.

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