'It’s devastating' — Young Australian broadcaster concerned about Facebook's news ban

Imogen Wells
Source: 1News

Australians woke up yesterday morning to find they couldn’t view or share news content on Facebook.

The social media giant making the move to ban every Australian news site from its platform as it faces down an incoming law that would force it to pay media outlets for their content.

For broadcaster Leonardo Puglisi the move is a big blow to business.

“It’s tough, it’s really tough, and quite honestly it’s devastating.”

He said Facebook accounts for a third of viewership numbers for his outlet, 6 News Australia.

The 13-year-old from Melbourne set up the news channel in 2019 out of his passion for journalism.

6 News Australia can only be viewed online.

“We are digital only, that is our only way to provide news,” he said.

There are also concerns the blanket news ban could extend to Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

“We do live streams off there, we do quizzes, we do polls. For Instagram to go, that would be worrying.”

Facebook’s move was met with swift criticism from news producers and politicians.

“We’ve got an organisation with massive power and when they exercise that power, the implications for us can be extraordinary,” said Nine Entertainment News chief executive Hugh Marks.

Others went further with their outrage. Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan compared the company’s actions to that of North Korea.

It wasn’t just media outlets that had their accounts blocked by Facebook in Australia either.

Some non news-related pages have been caught in the crossfire, including official health departments, emergency service warnings and even the page for an organisation which provides 24/7 help to victims of domestic violence.

Despite the harsh move from the social media platform, the Australian government plans to go ahead with the legislation to enforce payment to media outlets from sites like Facebook or Google.