The Wall Street Journal reported last year that Facebook purposely used a broad algorithm to block news in Australia, causing damage to pages for charities, emergency services and hospitals.
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Facebook he used an algorithm he knew would affect pages beyond those of publishers in Australia before pending legislation that would make news organizations pay platforms for content, The Wall Street Journal reports it.
As a result, the Australian government and health services pages were removed as the country began rolling out its Covid vaccination program, the Journal reported.
The Journal reported that the social media giant did not notify the pages in advance and that the removal was initiated before an appeal process was ready, a break from the typical procedure, the report said.
Whistleblowers submitted documents and testimony to US and Australian authorities claiming Facebook wanted to exert maximum pressure on Australian lawmakers voting on the law.
Facebook told the WSJ that the moves were not a negotiating tactic and that it used a broad algorithm because the law did not specify what was considered new.
“The documents in question clearly show that we intended to exempt Australian government pages from restrictions in an effort to minimize the impact of this misleading and harmful legislation,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement to the Journal. “When we were unable to do it as expected due to a technical error, we apologized and worked to correct it. Any suggestion to the contrary is categorically and obviously false.”
The report details the actions Facebook has taken ahead of new legislation that would charge digital platforms like Facebook and Google for news in order to display that content in news feeds or search results.
Both Facebook and Google opposed the law e threatened to remove certain services or features from Australiabut eventually reached commercial or governmental agreements.
Read the full report in the Wall Street newspaper.