Facebook won’t play Australian Government games and simply removes all news sites from Facebook this morning.

We all knew this would happen, didn’t anyone ever tell the guys in government you don’t poke the bear?

Well the bear has woken up and taken out all of Australia’s media and news sites (and some) in one big sweep.

I don’t want to go into too much detail about why the Government code forcing Google and Facebook to pay for news is ridiculous and only looks after the big media giants and not publishers such as ourselves and other new media platforms.

But, we could all see this coming – you are trying to force a company to do something they don’t have to, which has resulted in Facebook just packing up their office and heading home.

If there ever was a wake up call this is it. Just because you want to prop up your big media friends which are already multi-million dollar businesses, you are messing around with much more than that. You are now effectively causing damage to many businesses around Australia.

In an announcement on Facebook

In response to Australia’s proposed new Media Bargaining law, Facebook will restrict publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content. 

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The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content. It has left us facing a stark choice: attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter.

Last year Facebook generated approximately 5.1 billion free referrals to Australian publishers worth an estimated AU$407 million. 

For Facebook, the business gain from news is minimal. News makes up less than 4% of the content people see in their News Feed. Journalism is important to a democratic society, which is why we build dedicated, free tools to support news organisations around the world in innovating their content for online audiences.

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So where to from here?

Obviously not wanting to spend too much time on making sure only ‘official news’ pages in Australia are removed Facebook has moved fast and banned many pages that aren’t actually traditional news pages.

Both Perth and Sydney Airports are gone from Facebook.

All our platforms So Perth, So Where Next and So Binge are gone.

For a running list of pages banned so far please see facebook.com/groups/australiancommunitymanagers.

Will this be permanent, well it depends on how much the Government upset Facebook. Hopefully though, this is a show of power and force which the Government needed to wake up – Facebook provides more value to news companies and the community by being a free tool than the dollar you want to receive from them to help big media make even more profits.

Hopefully, this is the kick up the butt the Government needs before more businesses like ours are hurt. Hopefully, all sites are back up within 24 hours.

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The fact Google has come to an agreement with these big new giants as well is very surprising – does Nine need $30 million a year to help support their business? Or would that $30 million be better spent elsewhere within the Australian community?

Will The West be removing their Paywall to news content now that they have come to an agreement with Google? Or will they be happy to take the money given to them from the Government and Google and continue to charge everyday users to then view the content which has already been paid for?

The news has often said all other countries are watching with interest around Australia and their fight with Google and Facebook. It was for this reason, they wanted to see just how bad it could get – well here is the proof.

Well done Scott Morrison.

More to come.

Further Perth news on SoPerth.com.au.