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Aged care and advocacy posts removed during Facebook news ban

Some of Australia's biggest media outlets have had their page posts removed after social media platform, Facebook, decided last night that Australia could not post or share news content. 

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Facebook has followed through with its threat and removed most news pages of all their posts, rendering news social pages blank, including advocacy groups. [Source: iStock]

However, it appears the move is not only affecting media companies but has also pulled the information from aged care organisations, peak bodies, and advocacy groups, leaving them unable to provide information to consumers.

The Federal Government's Media Bargaining Code has brought on tense discussions with Google and Facebook for a number of months, with both parties threatening to remove its services from Australia.

Now, Facebook has followed through with its threat and removed most news pages of all their posts, rendering news social pages blank. However, in addition to news pages many other organisations have fallen victim. 

Massive organisations that provide services, advocacy, and information to older Australians have also been affected, including the Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia, Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA), Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN), and Leading Age Services Australia (LASA).

Additionally, Australian Government websites, like State and Territory Government health pages, and emergency service pages, including the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), that provide vital information have had all of their posts removed.

According to research from 2019 around 2.8 million older Australians use the social platform.

Chief Executive Officer of ACSA, Patricia Sparrow, says, "Facebook should immediately reverse the ban. It is having an adverse impact across a broad range of critical information services."

Ian Yates, Chief Executive of COTA, says, "Obviously COTA is concerned about being caught up in a dispute between Facebook and the Australian Government and Parliament about payment for newsfeed as it means older Australians are currently unable to access the wide range of important information we regularly post, and of course especially in relation to COVID-19 and vaccination. 

"We are likewise deeply concerned about State Health Departments, hospitals and other public service pages which are an important source of information for vulnerable older Australians. We hope Facebook fixes this quickly."

OPAN has the same sentiments as the other aged care groups with CEO Craig Gear saying, "OPAN provides vital information to older people, families and their representatives – some of the most vulnerable in the community. 

"We’re a charity and we are independent of the Government and news organisations. At a time when we are trying to inform older people about their rights in aged care and how to make informed choices about COVID and the COVID vaccine this sort of blanket approach and action by Facebook is highly irresponsible.  

"The public health impact could be significant and they need to rethink their strategy immediately."

Facebook have admitted that they put out a broad ban on what constitutes news on their platform, which has adversely affected other pages.

They have said they will reinstate affected pages, however, they have not provided a deadline on when this will occur.

Media and Government officials are highlighting the dangerous precedent Facebook has set, including barring pages that provide vital emergency news for bushfires, COVID-19, and more.

Minister for Communication, Paul Fletcher, told media this morning that, "If Facebook adopts the policy in Australia and maintains the policy that content from a news organisation with editorial policies, fact checking capabilities, employed journalists and so on, is not available on the platform, it will surely impact on the reputation and standing of the platform.

How the ban affects you: 

  • News websites won't be able to publish any news or information 

  • International news groups can publish articles on Facebook but Australians won't be able to view the posts

  • Users will not be able to publish or share any news from Australian or international news publishers

  • User from outside Australia will not be able to publish, view, or share Australian news

While most media has been targeted in the Facebook ban, it has not removed fake news sites from its platform.

Visit legitimate Australians news websites, like Talking Aged Care, directly to find the most accurate and trusted news about older Australians.

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