Last week, Facebook flexed its monopoly muscle, banning Australian users from accessing, sharing, or posting news content. . Outlets were shut down and hundreds of small businesses got caught up in crossfires, including many accom businesses, bloggers, and tourism bodies.
The move has clarified just how important it is to support news media outlets by subscribing to their newsletters. If you aren’t yet subscribed to our Accom News newsletter, please click here.
When Facebook decided to block Australians from accessing or posting news content or links, many small Aussie non-news businesses like industry consultants, accommodations, and tourism information businesses had their pages blocked. Unions, government health organisations disseminating COVID information, and countless others were also shut down. Accom News was affected too as we have had our Facebook page shut down.
The Facebook ban followed newly proposed federal government legislation, which will require digital platforms like Facebook and Google to pay news media companies for shared content. Google took a different tactic to Facebook and has made financial deals with major outlets, namely News Corp, but we are yet to see how smaller independent companies (like us here at Accom News) may be affected.
Accom News has learned of many small industry-related business owners and operators who were furious that their Facebook pages were blocked, especially as some of their competitor’s pages seemed untouched by the action taken last week.
Today, Accom News spoke to Holly Galbraith from the Women In Tourism (Australia) group who revealed some great news. Holly is a tourism, social media and events marketer, and she told us that a number of tourism businesses have now had their pages reinstated.
Holly spent the last few days collating a list of tourism industry pages that had been geoblocked by Facebook and the Women in Tourism (Australia) group took the list to the relevant industry bodies requesting that they take up the issue with Facebook.
They did, and many pages have now been unblocked.
However, if your page is still blocked Holly advises that you should report it directly to Facebook. She says: “If you are a tourism destination or a tourism experience or accommodation email your issue and FB link through to your state tourism organisation, industry or marketing representative.”
Holly’s advice to Accom News readers is: “I would say don’t panic and use this as an opportunity to look at your marketing and comms channel mix and ensure you are not too reliant on something you don’t have much control over or don’t own.”
She adds: “Your own website and database should be the centre of your marketing.”
Facebook’s news ban lifted…
Update from Facebook on February 22, 2021:
“We’re pleased that we’ve been able to reach an agreement with the Australian government and appreciate the constructive discussions we’ve had with Treasurer Frydenberg and Minister Fletcher over the past week. We have consistently supported a framework that would encourage innovation and collaboration between online platforms and publishers. After further discussions, we are satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognize the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them. As a result of these changes, we can now work to further our investment in public interest journalism and restore news on Facebook for Australians in the coming days.