Calls for a boycott of Facebook are reaching a crescendo after ‘Delete Facebook,’ ‘Boycott Zuckerberg,’ and ‘Facebook We Need To Talk’ began trending on the rival social media platform Twitter.
Facebook has infuriated netizens worldwide after slapping a ban on Australia’s users from accessing or sharing any news over a dispute with the Australian government regarding payment for news content.
British Tory MP Julian Knight, the head of Britain’s Digital, Culture, and Media Committee, said Facebook “should face stern legislative action and be brought to heel that way rather than through the softly-softly approach, which they said they wanted.”
Knight added, “Facebook always claimed it is a platform. It very much looks like it is now making quite substantial editorial and even political decisions.
“This for me strengthens the case for robust online harms legislation and for the UK to use competition law in order to try and secure an equitable arrangement for our journalism.
“It is arrogant, particularly during a pandemic, to basically turn off the taps to a great deal of news. It is not being a good global citizen.”
Conservative MP for Solihull believes Facebook should pay for UK news. “So, we’re all behind Australia in my view,” he added.
“If you gain value from carrying trusted sources of information—in the same way as if you gain values, for example from music streams—then those that carry those and then sell advertising off the back of that value, should pay for it. It seems to be pretty logical,” he said.
Facebook chose the option of banning news from Facebook for Australia rather than agree to the new laws soon to be passed, which will force it to pay news outlets for allowing them to host their stories.
The Daily Mail reported that Stephen Scheeler, former Facebook Australia CEO, slammed the “alarming” move and accused Mark Zuckerberg of being motivated by “money, power, and not [by the] good.
“It’s like an act of war. That’s how we should view this. Australians should be outraged,” Scheeler said.
The ban in Australia had a flow-on effect. UK news sites that share Australian papers’ names, health services providing CCP virus (COVID) information, charities, food banks, and even Facebook’s homepage were affected in what would appear to be a messed up move. Viewers were met with a “no posts yet” message.
With other countries watching developments closely, Facebook then tried to blame the Australian government for the errors, claiming it mirrors the “broad and vague” definition of “news” in its new law, reports The Mail.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, seething over Facebook’s ban, said it confirms that the Big Tech thinks it is bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to it.
He added, “Facebook’s actions to unfriend Australia today, cutting off essential information services on health and emergency services, were as arrogant as they were disappointing.
“These actions will only confirm the concerns that an increasing number of countries are expressing about BigTech companies’ behavior who think they are more significant than governments and that the rules should not apply to them.
“They may be changing the world, but that doesn’t mean they run it.
“We will not be intimidated by BigTech seeking to pressure our Parliament.”