A senior Facebook executive has apologised for completely nuking the entire Australian news media industry as we know it this week, but his apology means approximately 2/5ths of fuck all because we *still* can’t publish this story to the platform.
Simon Milner has issued an apology after the company not only banned media outlets like us from posting, but also banned a plethora of vital, potentially life-saving accounts like government health organisations and the Bureau of Meteorology.
“This is a really hard thing to do. We’ve never done it before. We are sorry for the mistakes we made in some of the implementation,” Milner said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Usually, the company uses human reviewers to determine what does and doesn’t constitute news, but ahead of Thursday’s decision – which I am now dubbing The Great Zucking Of 2021 – they used artificial intelligence to work it out.
Unfortunately, the fancy Facebook AI got it extremely wrong.
“There’s still some pages that we’re looking at but some of it’s really difficult in that the law isn’t clear and therefore there may be some pages that were clearly not news but actually under the law they might be,” Milner said. “That’s one of the challenges for us. We’re sorry for the mistakes that we made on that front.”
So basically, Facebook said “oopsie, sorry we didn’t mean to ban your government health organisations in the middle of a pandemic literally days before a life-saving vaccine is getting rolled out. Our bad!”
But let’s get one thing clear here: Facebook is sorry for borking it and accidentally blocking some non-news media accounts. But they still continue to give zero fucks about sending their Aussie users into a total media blackout.
Basically, Zuck and his team at Facebook reckon the government is being unreasonable and are still pretty hell-bent on nuking the Aussie media landscape if the government doesn’t sweeten the deal for them.
“We’re in the hands of the government,” Milner said.
“If the law continues to make it unviable for us to have news on Facebook, there’s no basis on which we can change this.
“If the law were to change then that creates opportunities for us to feel confident about being able to have news on the service without being unfairly penalised by this law.”
Following the apology, the Australian Government have re-ignited negotiations with Facebook, which will hopefully come to a resolution that means you’ll be able to see yarns like this weaved in-between people trying to flog their old fridge on Facebook Marketplace and your aunty sharing anti-vax content in the near future.
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