Thursday, February 18, 2021

Does the Facebook deletion of Australian newspaper posts affect news from cat rescue?

Australian newspapers on Facebook have lost all their posts as Facebook admin have decided to remove all news activity on their site emanating from Australia over their dispute with the Autralian government who want Facebook to pay for news when it is published on their site.

It is a difficult one to understand because many Australian newspapers are on Facebook voluntarily because it is a way of promoting their businesses. They have quite a hefty Facebook presence in addition to their website presence.

Facebook removes all posts from Australian newspapers on their website
Facebook removes all posts from Australian newspapers on their website

It's quite surprising to visit Australian newspapers such as The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald to see all their posts removed. I doubt whether they have been deleted permanently but they been removed from the Facebook pages of the newspapers and all other Australian newspapers. Therefore there is nothing on their Facebook webpages. It's all gone. Nada.

Animal rescue FB pages?

I wanted to check how far Facebook would go in removing Australian news from their website in this dispute. Where do you stop and start in this process? After all animal rescue organisations have a very large presence on Facebook. They consistently deliver news regarding their world of dog and animal rescue. Things happen in their world and they have to tell their followers what is happening so they can encourage them to adopt their animals.

Well, as expected, and it is nice to see, that these animal rescue webpages are fully functioning and all the posts are intact. There has been no change. Notwithstanding that, I would expect some animal rescue organisations to suffer a negative impact by this. It is hard to visualise when this might happen but perhaps, for example, if a newspaper was referring to a dog or cat as an animal rescue which needs adopting.

The newspapers can no longer put a post on their Facebook page about a cat or dog story that is occurring within an animal rescue organisation because they can't put any post on their Facebook pages. That seems to me to be an example of how Facebook's behaviour might impact animal welfare. This is my prime objective in this discussion.

Example where animal rescue suffers because of FB's ban of Aussie news media on their site

Example: 9 News have a website and a Facebook page. They are many articles on the RSPCA in Australia. Click here to see their list of articles. On Facebook - Nada. Nothing. So they can't promote the work of the RSPCA in Australia. This news media site has 2.4 million followers on Facebook and nothing to show them! Weird. They must be gutted.

Dependence on Facebook questionable

This is a long-standing battle not only between the Australian government but the governments of almost any country. Facebook has engulfed news media. But it seems to me that a lot of people have migrated to Facebook voluntarily because they have a free platform and all the machinery that goes with that. Facebook has some fantastic facilities and software which makes it very attractive as a platform to promote one's organisation or business. But it does mean that all these organisations are dependent upon Facebook. They are not freestanding and independent. They are in partnership with this mega-organisation which is too dominant.

It is not wise, really, to be so dependent upon Facebook administrators and Mr Zuckerberg because how moral is their behaviour? Can you depend upon them to behave morally and with integrity at all stages going into the future both mid and long-term? You're in their hands completely. If they want to delete something you have posted on their website they can delete it and you can't argue about it.

You can't contact them. You can't phone them up. It is a nightmare to try and get them to reverse their decision. There are many thousands of cases like this. In other words a fight with Facebook is a very difficult fight because they are so big, opaque and disdainful of little man or woman who depend upon them. Almost every other organisation is smaller than them.

As mentioned, this battle started between the government of Australia and Facebook because newspapers were losing out on business. Canberra wanted Facebook to pay for news content and Facebook have responded by removing all news content as mentioned from their website. In other words they are playing hardball and it is difficult to know where it will end up.

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