House debates

Monday, 22 February 2021

Statements by Members

News Media and Digital Platforms

4:32 pm

Photo of John AlexanderJohn Alexander (Bennelong, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I would like to join the pile-on against Facebook. Facebook's decision to ban news is lamentable, and, hopefully, it will be sorted out in the coming days or weeks, as they walk back from this brink that they have taken themselves to. Facebook's decision to ban local charities and public services is abhorrent, scandalous and unconscionable. Whether it was by agency or accident, the sites that were denied access were among those of critical importance to our society. The Bureau of Meteorology is not a news site, and yet it was banned at a time when fires and floods were hitting parts of our country. Local health networks that are currently rolling out critical information about the vaccine were banned just at the time that getting this information out is most critical. Even the Humans of Eastwood page, everyone's favourite purveyor of the highest quality local memes, found itself blocked, depriving people of the zebra-crossing content they needed to survive! But, seriously, the types of pages that were banned go to the heart of our civil society.

Last year, 2020, not only forced us online like never before but it has brought us together in online communities that, for so many, have been our only connection to the outside world. Stripping this from us has the potential to severely disrupt the provision of services so vitally important for health information. I'm pleased to see that many services have been returned— (Time expired)