Updated: March 1, 2021
Amnesty International is outraged after Facebook blocked Australian news sites from being shared on its platform, following a dispute with the government over paying for news content.
The decision was swiftly condemned around the world, especially as it affected emergency services.
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“Facebook’s actions to unfriend Australia today, cutting essential information services on health and emergency services, were as arrogant as they were disappointing,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison wrote on Facebook.
In a statement, Amnesty International Australia campaigner Tim O’Connor said “Facebook’s action starkly demonstrates why allowing one company to exert such dominant power over our information ecosystem threatens human rights.”
Tim O’Connor wrote: “It is extremely concerning that a private company is willing to control access to information that people rely on.
“Facebook’s action starkly demonstrates why allowing one company to exert such dominant power over our information ecosystem threatens human rights.
“It’s alarming that community support groups, emergency services and charities have had their content blocked.
“We’re particularly concerned with the effect this is having on people in the Pacific, many of whom rely on getting information and news from Facebook due to the nature of their agreements with telecommunications providers.
“Facebook’s willingness to block credible news sources also stands in sharp distinction to the company’s poor track record in addressing the spread of hateful content and disinformation on the platform.
“Amnesty International USA calls on Facebook to immediately reverse this decision.”