Emergency services, government health services, Bureau of Meteorology and state health pages caught in social media block

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Some Facebook pages owned by Australian government organizations, including emergency services and meteorologists, have started to reappear on Facebook after being previously blocked.

Key organizations including Fire and Rescue NSW, Department of Fire and Emergency Services WA, SA Health and Queensland Health all had their pages erased this morning after the social media giant imposed a ban on Australian users and publishers sharing or viewing news content.

However, the Bureau of Meteorology, DFES WA, and SA Health pages reappeared around lunchtime after Facebook pledged to revoke the ban on “inadvertently impacted” pages.

Fire and Rescue NSW has been hit by Facebook’s news ban. (Facebook)
Government news sites are affected by the Facebook news ban.
Government news sites are affected by the Facebook news ban. (Facebook)

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the time for the Facebook ban came as the social giant saw the passage of the code proposed by the House of Representatives yesterday – but the government got no warning.

The bill has not yet been submitted to the Senate.

“Facebook has no doubt that we are committed to the code, but we would also like to see them here in Australia,” Mr. Frydenberg said.

The Queensland Health Facebook page has been restored.
The Queensland Health page has been restored. (Facebook)

“But I think their actions today were unnecessary and bad.”

The treasurer spoke with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg today about “different interpretations” of the proposed media code.

“I spoke to him this weekend, but I also spoke to him this morning,” he said.

“We had a pretty long conversation, about half an hour, and it was constructive,” Frydenberg said.

“I think there are different interpretations of how the code would work. And we discussed some of those things.”

Josh Frydenberg and Paul Fletcher at a press conference on the Facebook news ban.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher at a press conference on the Facebook news ban. (Alex Ellinghausen / The Sydney Morning Herald)

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said Facebook’s decision to ban Australian news would hurt their brand.

He urged Facebook to reverse the ban on other organizations.

Do you agree with Facebook’s decision to block Australians from accessing information?

Earlier, SA Health said on Twitter: “It looks like SA Health got caught up in the Facebook restrictions that went into place overnight for Australian media.

“Our website remains active. You can follow our Instagram and Twitter for your health news.

“SA Health has contacted Facebook to rectify this problem.”

The Bureau of Meteorology said earlier: “The Bureau of Meteorology Facebook page has been affected by the broader changes to Facebook.”

His page was restored around 12:30 AEDT today.

The homeless charity Mission Australia and charities that are part of the Victorian Council of Social Services said they had also erased pages alongside some domestic violence services.

The Medical Journal of Australia also said on Twitter that its Facebook page had been “blocked”.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions also said it was blocked in a Tweet, while the page on satirical news site The Betoota Advocate was also removed.

The Hobart Women’s Shelter page also appears to have been cleared alongside the Women’s Legal Service NSW.

BOM Facebook page down
The BOM weather forecast Facebook page has been removed. (Facebook)

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese called on the government to “fix this problem today”.

“During a global pandemic, Australians cannot access state health services on Facebook,” he said.

“On a day of flood and fire warnings in Queensland and Washington State, Australians cannot access the Bureau of Meteorology on Facebook.”

Human Rights Watch Australia, which generally campaigns on issues such as the treatment of refugees and security laws, called on Facebook to lift the “alarming” bans on non-news pages.

“Cutting off access to vital information to an entire country in the middle of the night is unacceptable,” the organization said.

The Victorian Council of Social Services has also said that many pages of its charitable members have been affected.

Sign of chaos, British football teams, including the pages of Rangers, Celtic, Manchester United and Chelsea, are no longer visible.

The posts on the pages of some community sports clubs have also disappeared.

However, Facebook said it would “cancel any pages that are accidentally affected.”

“The actions we are taking are aimed at restricting publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content,” he said.

“As the law does not provide clear guidelines on the definition of information content, we have adopted a broad definition in order to comply with the law as drafted,” he said in a statement.

The DFES said it had been informed by Facebook that it would “restore the page as a priority”.

Victorian Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien’s MP page has been removed. (Facebook)

Retailer Harvey Norman’s page was also deleted – alongside Facebook’s own Facebook page.

The social media giant will ban publishers and people in Australia to share or view Australian and international news content in response to Australian media negotiation laws – a move according to Nine will prevent news creators from sharing quality news and information.
Facebook said it was left with a “difficult choice” after being unable to find a “solution” in discussions with the australian government.

“The proposed law fundamentally ignores the relationship between our platform and the publishers who use it to share topical content,” said William Easton, Facebook managing director for Australia and New Zealand, in a statement. blog post.

“This has left us with a difficult choice: to try to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or to stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With a heavy heart, we choose the latter. . “

Nine, who is the publisher of this site, said it was “unreasonable behavior”.

International news Facebook pages such as the New York Times are also not accessible in Australia.

Non-media organizations caught up in Facebook news ban

Department of Fire and Emergency Services, WA

Government health pages for Queensland, ACT, South Australia and Western Sydney

Victorian Council of Social Services

Homeless charities including Mission Australia, Sacred Heart Mission in Melbourne, Council to Homeless Persons

Domestic Violence Help, including 1800 Respect, Women’s Legal Service NSW

The Leader of the Opposition in Victoria, Michael O’Brien

WA Leader of the Opposition MP Zak Kirkup

British football teams including Manchester United, Celtic and Chelsea


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