Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson
Facebook’s announcement they will be blocking Australian news is alarming. More than half of Australians get their news through social media, and Facebook has the lion’s share.
This action removes credible, trusted news sources and means false and misleading information will be better able to circulate unchecked.
At the best of times this decision would have serious implications for any society, however the choice to do this during a global pandemic risks truly dangerous consequences.
While Facebook has claimed it will allow for official sources of coronavirus information to remain available, this is not how media consumption works. Many people access information on the pandemic from their trusted news source first, instead of directly from Government agencies.
If – or more likely, when – further pandemic restrictions are required in future, it will take far longer for new rules and advice to cut through to the public.
Facebook’s action as the country is gearing up to role out of a lifesaving vaccine will create space for misinformation and conspiracy theories to flourish without a countercheck.
It is truly disturbing that access to the Facebook pages of government emergency services and weather information have also been blocked, as have the pages for the Hobart Women’s Shelter and the Sexual Assault Support Service.
Facebook is putting Australian lives at risk.
While Facebook likes to prevent people from contacting them directly, helpfully, Facebook has a feature that allows people to report a problem.
We encourage Tasmanians to use this feature, or any other means available to them, to let Facebook know how they feel about the social media giant that is putting their safety at risk.
We also encourage Tasmanians who rely on Facebook for news to adjust their reading habits and access news content directly from a trusted source.