Facebook News Ban, why Owning your content is so important

Posted on February 18, 2021 by Fuzzy
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If you are anything like us, you probably woke up this morning to find your usual coffee browsing routine altered by a complete absence of posts from your favorite news sites on Facebook. You may have read about the Government spat with google over paid news content, this is part of that bill. While Google have begrudgingly started accepting deals with our local news media, Facebook has gone the opposite direction.

Its a huge escalation and possibly an overreaction of behalf of the social media giant's stand-off with the federal governments plans to invoke paid media due to its new media legislation laws. Facebook is forcing the Governments hand and making good on the threat originally proposed by Google to pull out of the Aussie market.

Facebook's Statement

In a prepared statement published prior the the events this morning, Facebook has stated:

Unfortunately, in response to Australia's proposed News Media Bargaining Code legislation, Facebook will have to restrict publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content on Facebook.

People outside of Australia also cannot view or share Australian news content or content from Australian news Pages on Facebook. 

This is not the outcome we wanted and it's a step we take reluctantly. The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content.

You can read the official Statement here: https://australia.fb.com/news-law/

Essentially Facebook is highlighting the differences between Search and social media and why they should be exempt from the new media laws. Publishers on Facebook voluntarily provide content unlike a search engines which generally crawl for content:

Google Search is inextricably intertwined with news and publishers do not voluntarily provide their content.

While Facebook does have a argument in this case, the banning of News media outright could be seen as a sever overreaction. Even Websites useful for Emergency service announcements haven't escaped this. As of 10am 18th of February, The Bureau of Meteorology has been effectively blocked: https://www.facebook.com/bureauofmeteorology As a Queenslander, this site has been useful for Cyclone warnings and Facebook interaction useful for community involvement.

Updates

18/02 11:30am Even our very own Nambour Toads haven't escaped Facebook's blanket ban. As a community Rugby Union Club, They are not even remotely a news publisher.

Content Ownership

Regardless if you side with Facebook, the Government's plans or you really couldn't care less, the biggest issue I see arising from these events is to do with Content Ownership. It highlights just how powerful centralised control of the internet is and your content can be removed by a mere whim. Simple concepts like privacy and focused advertising are out of your control or made very difficult for the end user to understand.

A Decentralised Internet

Prof. Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, has spoken on these very issues time and time again, expressing how important owning your content is.

I’ve always believed the web is for everyone. That’s why I and others fight fiercely to protect it. The changes we’ve managed to bring have created a better and more connected world. But for all the good we’ve achieved, the web has evolved into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas.

Medium Link

What Can we do about it?

Take charge and own your content, brand and online persona. Your website should always be your first port of call and everything else should be an extension to that. Social media websites like Facebook, Medium, LinkedIn and Google My Business should be utilised for branding and exposure, but you should always draw back to what you own, whether that's an online shop, blog or photography website.

  • Create your own website and become the owner of YOUR Content.
  • Support Decentralisation
  • Backup all your Posts, Pictures and important events onto something you control
  • Support OpenSource

Interesting Decentralised Projects

Solid: Led by the inventor of the Word Wide Web, Solid is an exciting new project taking place at MIT. The project aims to radically change the way Web applications work today, resulting in true data ownership as well as improved privacy. Users should have the freedom to choose where their data resides and who is allowed to access it. By decoupling content from the application itself, users are now able to do so.

Holochain: An alternative to the minefield of Crypto decentralisation projects, Holochain has been 8 years in the making. Its goals are to enable a distributed web with user autonomy built directly into its architecture and protocols. Data is about remembering our lived and shared experiences. Distributing the storage and processing of that data can change how we coordinate and interact. With digital integration under user control, Holochain liberates our online lives from corporate control over our choices and information.

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