Last Thursday Australians woke up to find news content completely scrubbed from their Facebook feeds. As has now been widely reported the ban also extended to a host of organisations that could not be considered “news media”. Arts Law was one of these unfortunate organisations.
Many regional/remote artists, small arts organisations and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists engage with online content primarily through social media and Facebook community groups. Currently for these groups, social media is vital to how they find and access information and services.
Facebook have since announced their intentions to reverse the ban after reaching an agreement with the Government. While this is good news, not just for Arts Law but everyone caught in the ban and those groups who rely on Facebook for information, it remains to be seen what impacts this may have on how Australians use social media. We have seen now how much power the tech giants hold over their platforms and many are starting to question how much we should rely on them for our communications.
Robyn Ayres, Arts Law’s CEO said ‘This heavy-handed treatment of Australia by Facebook highlights that their financial imperative far outweighs any social objectives. The concentration of power in the hands of any media or tech organisation is likely to have negative consequences for users and consumers. Hopefully this recent incident will encourage Australians to interact with other social media platforms and engage directly with organisations which can keep them up to date with news and other information’.
At the time of writing, our Facebook account has been restored but the Arts Law website is still banned from the platform. We are still posting content and you can also find us on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Youtube.
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