Facebook farce

At a time such as this when we need credible science information like never before, cosmosmagazine.com’s main social media presence has been blocked by the owner of the platform: Facebook.

The Facebook block comes as part of government and publishing-industry efforts to make tech giants contribute to the news content they have otherwise been sharing for free, while the creators of that content struggle to compete in a vastly altered media landscape.

“From our point of view, it’s simply not good for anyone if we’re not able to share facts,” notes Will Berryman, Executive Director of the Royal Institution of Australia, which publishes Cosmos magazine and its associated website.

“We hope that Facebook remedy this quickly, because we’re in the business of sharing important, science-based information at a critical time, and it serves no-one’s interest to have that lost and replaced by unchecked stories.”

What you can do

  • Write to Facebook ([email protected] or Level 41, Tower Two, 200 Barangaroo Ave, Sydney NSW 2000) and urge them to reverse their position
  • Sign up at cosmosmagazine.com for our daily and weekly free science news updates.

The Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus) is a not-for-profit and it delivers daily science news – and free science education resources – as part of its charter. High on RiAus’s – and many other people’s – list of worries is that purveyors of misinformation and conspiracy theories could well be the chief beneficiaries of Facebook’s decision. 

“I have many concerns about Facebook’s ban on sharing and providing Australian news content across the platform” says Western Sydney University public relations lecturer Nicole Bridges.

“Facebook are depriving users of easy access to constant and reliable news sources. In this age of misinformation, fake news and the proliferation of conspiracy theories, this is a dangerous move by the tech giant.”

“The timing couldn’t be worse,” adds Julie Leask, a professor at the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Medicine and Health. “Facebook censor anti-vaccination content ‘for public health’ at the same time as restricting users’ access to local news at the start of a vaccine rollout.

“Three days before our COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Australians using Facebook as their primary source of news can no longer get access to credible information about vaccination from news organisations and some government and public health organisation pages.

“This is the very time we rely on people accessing vaccine information easily, from their preferred platform.”

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