Australia woke to the news that Facebook has restricted publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content. It has also blocked important government information pages including the weather bureau, health departments and police agencies.
The announcement comes after a report in the Sydney Morning Herald which said Google has agreed to pay Nine Entertainment Co more than $30 million a year for use of its news content.
In an official statement from Facebook they said;
We were prepared to launch Facebook News in Australia and significantly increase our investments with local publishers, however, we were only prepared to do this with the right rules in place. This legislation sets a precedent where the government decides who enters into these news content agreements, and ultimately, how much the party that already receives value from the free service gets paid. We will now prioritise investments to other countries, as part of our plans to invest in new licensing news programs and experiences. Unfortunately, this means people and news organisations in Australia are now restricted from posting news links and sharing or viewing Australian and international news content on Facebook. Globally, posting and sharing news links from Australian publishers is also restricted. To do this, we are using a combination of technologies to restrict news content and we will have processes to review any content that was inadvertently removed.
Social Media Guru & CEO of Bespoke Media Group, Nic Fren started receiving phone calls from clients as early as 5:30am on Thursday with concerned clients who were unable to post listings on their Facebook pages. I’ve started to see the major portals' Facebook pages being shut down without notice. At the time of writing this. Homely.com.au seems to be the only platform still being able to share property links.
Ming Johanson, social media marketing business owner in Perth says this has been coming for a while and feels it will only play into the hands of YouTube and Google, but worries it could also increase the level of fake news due to the non ability to share facts.
So what does this mean agents trying to push their content out on Facebook in Australia?
The important thing is not to have a knee Jerk reaction Mr Fren explains to his clients. It’s an inconvenience but it’s not the end of the world. I’ve known for sometime there would be changes coming to social media this year which is why I’ve started building a strong presence on other platforms. With Facebook owning Instagram, who knows the direction they will take with that platform and if other sites such as LinkedIn will follow suit. The advice of Ms Johanson is that business owners should start to look at other social media sites to promote on.
With the sharing capabilities stripped from the major portals, I urge business owners to re assess their websites and put the time into them to become the go to for information. I believe sites such as Homely.com.au will benefit from the changes as agents will question the listing costs on sites such as REA & DOMAIN.
I suspect we will see added content to accompany articles. YouTube is still able to be published on Facebook so I suspect we may see more videos emerge which can be shared. The other alternative we have is the outlets can publish articles through LinkedIn with a backlink to their website and share content that way. Another way to get around it would be to write longer blogs on facebook without the backlinks and tag advantage of the tagging options.
The one thing to remember is Facebook is not the be all and end all. Don’t put all your focus in the one platform. It’s vital to build a profile on all sites in case of events like these. REA had over 662,000 followers and is now cancelled. Don’t put all your eggs in the one basket.
One key point to remember is not to be posting links on Facebook as this could be looked at by Facebook as providing news content and may result in your Facebook pages being shut down. What you are better off doing is uploading an image and putting all the information in the caption. Facebook likes to keep you inside their page.
It’s also crucial to remember that we won’t be getting news alerts on market updates from the news outlets that we used to that can be reshared, so it’s a great time to really look at your social media strategy and position yourself as a leader in this space. Video content reporting news is the more than likely the best way, or a screenshot of what you have seen online.
Bespoke Media Group