Facebook’s sudden decision to restrict people in Australia from reading and sharing news on Thursday yielded an ironic consequence for the social media giant.
According to multiple reports, Facebook accidentally restricted its own Facebook page on Thursday in Australia, before restoring it later in the day. An Australian journalist posted a screenshot on Twitter capturing the Facebook page in its limited state, showing a missing cover photo and a barren timeline with only the words “No posts yet.”
But this wasn’t the only unintentional outcome that arose from Facebook’s sweeping news restrictions. The social media giant inadvertently blocked several Australian government pages including two official health agencies, cutting access to this health information amid the coronavirus pandemic. Some publications are blank not just in Australia, but around the world.
Facebook began restricting people in Australia from viewing and sharing news Thursday in response to the government’s proposed legislation. Known as the News Media Bargaining Code, it requires Big Tech companies like Facebook and Google to pay news publishers for their content, to which the companies link on their respective platforms.