Saturday, October 16, 2021

The freedom of the press still furnishes that check upon government which no constitution has ever been able to provide – Chicago Tribune.

HomeIssue 4Facebook shows its true colours

Facebook shows its true colours

COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA

Facebook’s sudden shutdown of its Australian news content should be a wake-up call for all who have come to rely on it as a source for either consuming or disseminating information.

They may have thought they were getting something for nothing, that Facebook was providing a service but now the company and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg are showing their true colours: Facebook is all about making money.

Despite making noises about social responsibility, that lags a long way behind Facebook’s drive to maximise profits, minimise costs.

As a private company they don’t have an obligation to serve Australia – or Alice Springs – and they’ve made that abundantly clear, even shutting down sites providing vital health information during this time of pandemic and urgent vaccine rollout to the most vulnerable in our community .

News media by contrast, bound by the Journalist Code of Ethics, do have a responsibility to serve the public interest.  It is their work that Facebook does not want to pay for, at least not in the way being proposed by the Australian Government’s news media bargaining code legislation.

Other than the public broadcaster, news media have had their commercial model dramatically eroded by Facebook, which has channelled an estimated 80% of Australian advertising revenue to California, even while channeling journalists’ work, without compensation, to their members.

All tiers of government – including here the Town Council and the NT Government – as well as a string of other publicly funded organisations have gone along with this, using Facebook’s platform for sharing their important information rather than supporting professional media whose work is a vital underpinning of our democracy.   

As always the solution lies in the hands of the public – you got along very well without Facebook before and you can again, by choosing to consume and support professional news media, including the Alice Springs News, as your principal source of information.

COLLAGE: The publicly elected Town Council and the publicly funded Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (currently under external administration) are extensive users of FaceBook while bypassing local media with their paid advertising.

4 COMMENTS

  1. What the hell were we thinking?
    Putting a vast platform of communication under the evil algorithms of a self centred weido like Snark Muckberg.
    He only has one point on his moral compass, the one with the big $$$$ on it.
    I have studiously avoided having anything to do with filthbook, even though it has lead to difficulties on following things like the slow death of my close friend.
    And great gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair when organisations like the ABC expect you to contact them via FB.
    There was a brief period a few weeks ago when it was mooted that the ABC should launch its own platform.
    BRING IT ON!

  2. Spot on Erwin. As a former country newspaper journalist I know how hard newspapers work to research and write the news, from the CWA cake stall to the junior sports results to the local council happenings.
    Yet Facebook and its billionaire owner Zuckerberg benefits from such work, pays nothing for it, and takes almost all the advertising revenue which pays the hardworking reporters.
    In my own town I see a local vet advertising on YouTube while local papers struggle.
    What are they thinking? I’d be happy to see the purveyor of fake news and conspiracy theories go under quite frankly. It’s time Facebook had to face up!

  3. Traffic to Australian news sites immediately declined 20% following the embargo. Australian news operations need to make it blindingly easy for consumers to find their content, with attractive landing pages and meta sites (like Rupe’s) as well as enhancing marketing (elsewhere if not FB) pointing to their wares.

  4. Open your smartphone’s browser to Alice Springs News.
    Add this site to your phone’s home screen.
    Touch the button: You are here.

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