Facebook’s Australia News Ban Hits State Governments, Health Departments, and Weather Services

Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.
February 17, 2021 Updated: February 17, 2021

The Facebook pages of Australia’s Queensland, South Australia, ACT Health, the WA Fire and Emergency Services, and the Bureau of Meteorology have been blocked after the social media giant banned Australians from sharing news.

The pages were blocked as Facebook followed through on its threat to restrict Australians from sharing news on its platform in response to a proposed media bargaining code.

The pages, which provide crucial government health and weather information and alerts, were blacked out on Thursday morning.

A Queensland government spokesman told AAP the matter will be investigated and Facebook will be contacted.

Epoch Times Photo
Facebook has restricted Queensland Health’s Facebook page in its move to restrict sharing Australian news on its platform. (The Epoch Times)

Comment has been sought from the South Australian and West Australian governments.

AAP journalist Benita Kolovos wrote on Twitter: “The pages of governments, MPs, health departments, the Bureau of Meterology, numerous women’s shelters and even TV programs and radio stations are affected. Like I said, totally cool and normal of them.”

More than 600,000 people follow the Queensland Health page and more than 307,000 follow the SA Health page.

Almost 52,000 people follow the ACT Health Facebook page while the WA Fire and Emergency Services page is followed by more than 301,000 people.

The Bureau of Meteorology page provides weather updates and severe weather and flood alerts to more than 909,000 users.

No other government health or emergency service pages appear to have been blocked.

Australian users and publishers are restricted from sharing or viewing domestic and international news after Facebook followed through on threatened action in response to the government’s proposed media bargaining code.

By Marty Silk. Epoch Times writer Caden Pearson contributed to this article.

Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.