Facebook (Accidentally) Blocks Charity Pages In Australia

Facebook just threw their toys out of the pram, did your charity’s page get thrown out too?

Facebook yesterday moved to block Australian news content from being shared by users globally. If you try to share a news article from an Australian publisher you’ll see a message like the one below:

Australian news blocked by Facebook
Screen capture showing the error message that users will receive when trying to post links to Australian news content

Is no news really good news?

Our first response when we saw this was: fair enough, Facebook are a private enterprise and have the right to block content on their platform, especially if it’s not viable for them to continue displaying it (due to Australia’s proposed News Media Bargaining Code). However, on further analysis the impact is much broader than we expected, some key points below:

  • Many Australian Charities are reporting having their pages blocked by Facebook (including Save the Children Australia, the Hobart Women’s Shelter, Kids Cancer Project and UNICEF Australia).
  • Government agencies are also reporting being blocked.
  • Smaller news organisations that were never in favour of the new code are also reporting losing vital traffic and could be on the verge of going out of business.

The intention of Facebook was to block only news content but in typical Facebook style, they have moved fast and broken things. Understandably many are not happy:

The move fast and break things approach is exemplified by the fact that Facebook even managed to block their own page for a short time:

Many of these organisations appear to have had their access restored as of today.

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    Jon Dawson, CEO of Digital Ninjas
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    What to do if you’ve been blocked incorrectly?

    The advice at the moment appears to be “sit tight we’re fixing things”. We’re hoping that Facebook will have restored much of the incorrectly blocked content by later today.

    If you’re still struggling to get reactivated we recommend seeking help through Facebook’s Government, Politics and Advocacy Portal here. You can, of course, tweet @Facebook and vent your frustrations.

    Another important area to think about based on Facebook’s actions combined with Google’s musings of leaving the Australian market is to DIVERSIFY your digital channel mix. It’s difficult not to rely on the big two media players, however slowly introducing and testing other social platforms and search engines should be a key part of your digital strategy. Do you really want all of your eggs in one tech giants basket?