Meta Claims That Shut Down Of Aussie Services “Wasn’t Intentional”

Meta Claims That Shut Down Of Aussie Services “Wasn’t Intentional”

A report by a whistleblower, which was published by the The Wall Street Journal, pointed out that Facebook’s parent company Meta allegedly shut down a number of critical services in Australia during its negotiation period with the media publications. However, a spokesperson for the company claims that the incident was caused by a technical error.

Meta is facing accusations that it used this tactic in order to play “hardball” with the Australian government, who at the time was drafting a new law by which large platforms, such as Facebook and Google, would be forced to pay media corporations for the news stories that are published on their sites.

The whistelblower provided supporting documentation to the US and Australian government which gives basis to the accusations as it shows messages from Facebook to all its teams praising their work in shutting down groups and pages that belonged to Australian organisations, such as charities, hospitals, etc.

But when speaking to Mumbrella, the Meta managing director for ANZ, Will Easton, stressed that the incident was caused by “technical errors”, which Facebook itself corrected internally: “We had shared numerous concerns about the proposed laws and worked with the Australian Government in good faith to find a solution, removing news was the last decision we wanted to make. The documents in question clearly show that we intended to exempt Australian government Pages from restrictions in an effort to minimize the impact of this misguided and harmful legislation. When we were unable to do so as intended due to a technical error, we apologized and worked to correct it. Any suggestion to the contrary is categorically and obviously false.”

Facebook has been dealing with further accusations for its stance in refusing to negotiate with media organisations under the new News media Bargaining Code, with many publications, such as SBS, unable to reach a conclusive deal with the tech giant.

Earlier this year, Meta took a hard negotiating stance, refusing to publish all news stories from Australian media on Facebook and blocking all further content from the publications on its website.

However, according to the whistleblower’s report, several of the company’s employees voiced their doubts on its strategy to further impose restrictions on pages which play a significant role in the nation’s operations. These doubts received almost no response by Meta’s higher ranking officers.

When the ban eventually came to an end, as the proposed law had been temporarily amended, Facebook’s head of partnership’s pointed out that the company had “landed exactly where we wanted to.”




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