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$2B coal project targeted in Facebook nationwide blackout

William Easton
Facebook Australia and New Zealand managing director William Easton

A multinational resources company fell prey to a national social media ban on news content.

Posts on the Bravus Mining and Resources (formerly known as Adani Australia) Facebook page temporarily disappeared after the internet company decided to block users from accessing Australian news information across the platform on February 18.

Proponent joins blacklist

The proponent behind the $2 billion Carmichael Coal Project, 160km northwest of Clermont, confirmed it joined the long list of media outlets, government agencies and not-for-profit organisations that were affected by the Facebook ban.

“You may have noticed our Bravus Facebook Page has been impacted by the broader Facebook changes that have occurred today, regarding news outlets,” a company spokesperson said on the Bravus website.

Rush to other platforms

The spokesperson suggested trying to stay up-to-date on the company’s website and other social media pages until the matter was resolved.

“The latest news and information on our project is always available at bravus.com.au, our Twitter account @BravusResources or our LinkedIn account,” the spokesperson said.

“We are trying to get in touch with Facebook so the issue can be resolved as soon as possible. Stay tuned!”

QMEB checked the Bravus Facebook page on February 22 and found the posts were live again.

‘Media bargaining’ stunt

Facebook Australia defended blocking the content by describing the action as a political bid to stop the federal government introducing new legislation that compels the company to pay for Australian news content.

“In response to Australia’s proposed new media bargaining law, Facebook will restrict publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content,” Facebook Australia and New Zealand managing director William Easton said in a public statement.

The decision means no readers anywhere in the world will be able to access Australian news content on Facebook pages.

“They cannot view or share Australian or international news content on Facebook or content from Australian and international news pages,” Easton said.

“For our international community this means they cannot view or share Australian news content on Facebook or content from Australian news pages.”

‘Counter productive’ to mine safety

APRS Media, which publishes QMEB and the Australasian Mine Safety Journal, has also been blocked since February 18. The publisher believes Facebook’s actions are preventing the mining industry from accessing important work safety information.

“We believe Facebook’s actions are counterproductive to informed decision-making on many aspects of mine safety,” the publisher said in a public statement.

“We, like many other media providers in Australia, believe that Facebook’s actions also amount to unconscionable business conduct. Our 47,000 Facebook followers deserve better from this US tech giant who has previously charged us simply to share our news with our readership … we believe that Facebook has been aggressively manipulating the media landscape in Australia.”

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