Facebook says it ‘erred on the side of over-enforcement’ when blocking news content in week-long standoff in Australia
Social media giant Facebook said Wednesday it “inadvertently” blocked some content including a large swathe of charity and state health pages when it imposed a week-long ban on news in a standoff over Australia’s new media code.
The admission of error comes a day after Facebook agreed to reverse its prohibition on Australian news content after the federal government in Canberra agreed to make changes to its code that planned to make tech companies pay news organizations for content they produce.
A Facebook blog posted Wednesday, written by the company’s VP of global affairs, Nick Clegg, says that even though the media code had been debated for three years, the company needed to act quickly before the new law came into force.Also on rt.com Twitter called out for ‘double standards’ after it singles out report on UK influence op in Russia with ‘hacked materials’ label
“We erred on the side of over-enforcement,” Clegg, a former UK Deputy PM wrote, adding the decision wasn’t taken lightly. “In doing so, some content was blocked inadvertently. Much of this was, thankfully, reversed quickly.”
The week-long prohibition by Facebook coincided with the media code being debated in the Canberra parliament.
Clegg said that the dispute was a misunderstanding which is the fault of the news publishers who choose to share their content on social media.Also on rt.com ‘Cancel them before they cancel us’: Gab CEO says banks have banned platform due to media smears
The media code is the first in the world that would force tech giants to pay for content. On Tuesday the government said it would take into account commercial deals Google and Facebook reach with news companies before deciding whether they are subject to the law.
The companies also won more time to strike deals with publishers before they’re forced into a final take-it or leave-it offer from the government.
Shortly after Facebook began allowing Australians to access news content again on Tuesday, it announced it had reached a deal with Aussie media conglomerate Seven West Media and was working with other companies on similar deals.
Belinda Barnet, an expert in digital media at Melbourne’s Swinburne University of Technology, said government changes to the media code meant Facebook’s news ban had been a successful bargaining tactic, but ultimately the aim of the code was still being realized.
“They [tech giants] will just be making offers to please the treasurer,” she said, adding she hoped they would also be required to give access to engagement data and notice of algorithm changes.
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