SBS Punjabi

Whistleblowers allege Facebook blocked essential Australian service sites for commercial advantage

SBS Punjabi

In this photo illustration the Facebook logo seen displayed on a smartphone screen, with graphic representation of the stock market in the background. (Photo by Rafael Henrique / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

In this photo illustration the Facebook logo seen displayed on a smartphone screen, with graphic representation of the stock market in the background Source: Sipa USA Rafael Henrique / SOPA Images/Si


Published 13 May 2022 at 8:51am
By Danielle Robertson, Stephanie Corsetti
Presented by Harleen Kaur
Source: SBS

When Facebook blocked news content in Australia during a stand-off with the federal government over a law that would force them to pay news outlets for their content, pages appeared blank. That included health services, emergency pages and suicide prevention groups.


Published 13 May 2022 at 8:51am
By Danielle Robertson, Stephanie Corsetti
Presented by Harleen Kaur
Source: SBS


Documents filed to the United States Justice Department and Australia's competition regulator, the ACCC, show not-for-profit group Whistleblower Aid alleges it was a negotiating tactic by Facebook.

They were filed on behalf of former Facebook employees alleging the move was to gain negotiating leverage for the social media platform.

Former ACCC Chair Rod Sims says the allegations are appalling, if true, because the social media giant was potentially putting lives at risk for commercial reasons.

Advertisement
"I mean there were bushfires going on at the time, Facebook was being used for bushfire warnings. There was of course the COVID pandemic on and health advice going out about that but you also had other health sites that were giving urgent health advice to people and they were just completely taken down."

Now Facebook's parent company Meta has told SBS it intended to exempt Australian government pages from restrictions but when it couldn't, due to a technical error, it apologised to users.

A company spokesperson says any suggestion to the contrary is 'categorically and obviously false'. 

Listen to SBS Radio's Punjabi program from Monday to Friday at 9 pm. Follow us on  and 


Share