Facebook removes its own page by mistake in Australia news purge

Facebook accidentally purged its own page from social media amid its retaliation against government moves to make the social media giant pay for Australian journalism.

In the latest battle in the war between Big Tech and the Australian government, Facebook announced it would prevent Facebook’s 13 million monthly Australian users from reading and sharing news on its platform.

The drastic move came in response to Australia’s proposed Media Bargaining law, which would force tech companies like Facebook and Google to compensate news companies to feature their content.

For Facebook, the Media Bargaining law could become an expensive precedent that other countries could follow.

But in the frantic rush to prevent news publishers showing any content at all, which an Australian minister called ‘an assault on a sovereign nation’, Facebook’s own page was also removed.

The informational page, which previously featured Facebook’s latest news and achievements, appeared empty, with the text: ‘No posts yet’.

Twitter users reacted with amusement at the blunder.

The new Media Bargaining law is, its proponents argue, a way to ‘protect public interest journalism’, by ensuring outlets are compensated for their content being read from search engines and social media.

But its detractors, which includes tech giants Google and Facebook, criticise it as ‘fundamentally misunderstanding’ the relationship between publishers and tech companies.

According to Facebook, Australian publishers earnt close to $407million last year through referrals from its platform.

But the move to ban all news publishers from sharing on the platform has been described as ‘very worrying’ by journalists and media experts.

The vacuum of no official news sources could lead to an environment where conspiracy theories and false information prospers.

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