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Anger after Facebook shuts down pages in Australia

Christian Fernsby |
Dozens of Australian companies, charities and information providers reacted with anger on Thursday after being shut down by Facebook, imploring the social media giant to restore their pages as calls for users to delete the platform grew.

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Australians were blocked from accessing news in their Facebook feeds after an escalation of the proposed media bargaining code which would require the company and Google to reach commercial deals with news outlets whose links drive traffic to their platforms.

But several charities and pages of official health, meteorology and emergency services were also blocked, along with smaller, niche content providers.

Foodbank Australia, one of the many charities caught in the crossfire, said Facebook’s response was “unacceptable”.

“Hours matter when you have nothing to eat. SORT THIS OUT!” CEO Brianna Casey tweeted.

Save the Children CEO Paul Ronalds said the charity had come to rely on the platform to communicate with supporters and members.

“We also use Facebook as an important fundraising tool to reach generous supporters who want to support the world’s most vulnerable children,” he said. “Every minute that our page is down is another minute our message isn’t getting out about the needs of children.”

Facebook had restored the government services pages by afternoon, but there were still small businesses and community groups who were left venting, with #facebooknewsban and #DeleteFacebook trending on microblogging site Twitter.

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