Australian Government criticizes Facebook for sick double standards by creating the 'perfect' platform for pedophiles to share child abuse - and keeping you from reading the news
- Facebook has banned millions of Australians from viewing news on the platform
- The decision means that Australians cannot read or share news on Facebook
- The move is in response to the proposal to make tech giants pay for news content
- Home Secretary Peter Dutton also criticized Facebook over Facebook's guidelines
- New encrypted messages make it more difficult to catch pedophiles
Facebook has been humiliated by the Australian government for making it easier for pedophiles to get away with sharing child abuse material on the platform - on the same day as the company's 'shameful' decision to block Australian news.
The US technology giant has infuriated Australians after blocking them from reading and sharing local news in response to a world first that forced technology giants to pay media companies for the content they use.
The extraordinary move has also prevented Australians from accessing vital information in the middle of the coronavirus- pandemic, with the public health, charity, and emergency services pages also being blocked by the company's algorithm change.
Home Secretary Peter Dutton told Daily Mail Australia that the brutal act showed the company's 'arrogance' in dealing with Australian government policy and legislation.
Facebook has been humiliated by the Australian government for making it easier for pedophiles to get away by sharing child abuse material on the platform. Pictured: Pedophilic Arrest
Access to the online footprint of suspects has proven to be crucial to police investigations. Pictured: the computer setup of an alleged pedophile in Queensland
An enraged Mr Dutton said the company will introduce encrypted messages later this year that will make it even more difficult for Australian authorities to intercept sick pedophile conversations and the sharing of images and videos of child abuse.
"Facebook's arrogance is not limited to their decision to ban Australian news," Dutton said Thursday.
"Their drive for end-to-end encryption will make it easier for pedophiles to share material about child sexual exploitation."
End-to-end encryption, already used by Facebook's WhatsApp and Apple's iMessage, means that only the people who communicate can see their messages, protecting users' privacy, but also preventing the police from accessing to essential evidence.
Access to the online footprint of suspects has proved pivotal to police investigations and recently helped trap 'bin bag pedo' Richard George Aldinger, 63, who livestreamed the abuse of a 12-year-old girl in the Philippines.
Former A Current Affair journalist Ben McCormack was also arrested for promoting child abuse after police searched his sick Skype messages with a Catholic elementary school teacher who fantasized about raping little boys as young as three.
Mr. Dutton fears that thousands of pedophiles will never be caught under the new secret messaging system.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
'I find it a complete outrage. I think people like Mark Zuckerberg have a moral obligation to act and do the right thing, ”he told Daily Mail Australia.
"Right now they are facilitating these criminals, these networks, these organized criminal syndicates exploiting and destroying the lives of young children, and we have to call it out."
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the US estimates that if Facebook continues with end-to-end encryption, reports of child sexual abuse will decrease by as much as 50 percent.
More than 90 percent of the referrals to the center are made by Facebook, and they have resulted in more than 30.000 reports submitted to Australian officials for investigation.
Facebook announced its move to end-end encryption in March 2019, and it will come into play in Australia later this year.
The company believes that end-to-end encryption is the best security tool available to protect Australians from cyber criminals and hackers and will still use other investigative techniques and analytical tools to exterminate pedophiles.
A Facebook spokesperson said: 'We do not tolerate any behavior involving the exploitation of children and we are working closely with law enforcement agencies in Australia and around the world to report and remove harmful content.
“We take strong action against any user who shares content that exploits or endangers children, including banning the user and reporting the matter to the relevant authorities.
"Facebook is at the forefront of the fight against child abuse online and we will continue to do so through our private messaging services."
Home Secretary Peter Dutton (pictured) is outraged by the company's decision to introduce encrypted messages later this year
The spokesperson said WhatsApp moderators ban 300.000 accounts worldwide every month by using photo-matching technology to identify child abuse images in profile photos.
Mr Dutton was one of the ministers who hit Facebook on Thursday after its extraordinary move to ban news content in Australia.
When users go to reliable Facebook news accounts, including the ABC, 7News and Daily Mail Australia, they get a message that there are 'no messages' available - hiding news content that is visible to people abroad.
Even Australia's Greens Facebook page, the Bureau of Meteorology, and domestic violence charities were not allowed to post updates.
Facebook's extraordinary move to ban news contrasted with Google, which has made deals with media groups in recent days, including Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the move was "heavy-handed and will damage his reputation here in Australia."
Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (pictured) turned down Facebook's move, calling it 'Fakebook'
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the social media giant has denied access to basic health, mental health and vaccination data.
"Facebook has taken steps that are unprecedented and reprehensible," he said.
"Unacceptable in a democracy like this and abuse of their power."
Agriculture Secretary David Littleproud was adamant that the government would fight back against Facebook.
"The Australian people and their government are not going to be bullied by some big tech company that endangers people like lives and puts profits before people," he said.
National Senator Matt Canavan said he disagreed with this smothering of free speech.
'We already have laws that prevent foreigners from getting involved in political debates. In any case, Facebook seems to be in violation of the spirit of those laws, ”he told Daily Mail Australia.
"Any foreign companies trying to control Australians' freedom of speech should be packed."
Former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said Mark Zuckerberg is acting like North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un (right) by stopping access to independent news
National Senator Matt Canavan (center) told Daily Mail Australia that he disagreed with this stifling of freedom of speech. He is pictured with Liberal Senators Eric Abetz (left) and Hollie Hughes (right)
Former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said Mark Zuckerberg is acting like North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
Joyce said the decision meant that Facebook was like North Korea, which tightly controls what news and information its citizens can access and relentlessly releases propaganda in support of its leadership.
Journalism is essential for the functioning of democracy. If you don't want journalism, go to North Korea, ”he told Daily Mail Australia.
"This is a North Korean policy agenda being pursued by Facebook," he added.
Joyce said the government should consider issuing licenses authorizing social media companies to operate in Australia to ensure they act in the national interest.
'When they leave, what else? There will be another platform, ”he said.
Joyce added: 'When I look at the press gallery in Parliament or when I walk through Tamworth, I don't see a Facebook or Google agency - so if they want to take advantage of others' journalism, they should pay for it.
It took 10.000 years of human experience to acquire the freedoms we enjoy today, and the investigative efforts of paid journalists are a vital pillar of that. To be journalistic, you need real presence and advertising.
"If Facebook wants to obscure the process, they can return to their garage and table tennis."
Barnaby Joyce National Member of Parliament (pictured) called on federal government to consider licensing permitting social media companies to operate in Australia
Communications Secretary Paul Fletcher (pictured) urges government to 'go ahead' with new law that led to the Facebook ban
Communications Secretary Paul Fletcher has urged the government not to back down, saying the publisher could comply with Australian laws or leave the country.
Mr Fletcher said the government is "going ahead" with the new bill, passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday evening and expected to be passed by the Senate within days.
'We want that Google and Facebook will remain in Australia, but we have been very clear that if you do business in Australia, you must abide by the laws passed by this country's elected parliament, ”he told ABC Thursday morning.
But Mr. Fletcher did not rule out modifying the code after ongoing discussions with Facebook.
Treasurer Josh Treasurer spoke with CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday morning and revealed that the pair were trying to find 'a path forward'.
"Let's keep those discussions going and at the same time continue the legislative process for the code," said Mr Fletcher.
Facebook's decision means that Australia's nine million daily users will no longer be able to see news - even from foreign websites.
Australian Facebook users can't even share content they find interesting with friends and family, nor can those abroad read or access content from Down Under.
The law `` fundamentally misunderstands '' the relationship between tech platforms and publishers, Facebook said, adding that it helped Australian publishers through referrals about AU $ 407 million last year (photo: another black Australian news site)
How did news outlets respond?
So much for Facebook's commitment to freedom of speech.
We are amazed at this inflammatory move, a blatant and clumsy attempt to intimidate the Australian government into watering down the provisions of the ACCC Code.
"We trust Canberra's politicians will stand firm and call Facebook's bluff by passing the legislation unchanged and enforcing it to the letter of the law."
It is a shame that Facebook has taken this position and it will indeed stop us from sharing our quality news and information with Australians. No one is benefiting from this decision, as Facebook will now be a platform for disinformation that can spread quickly and without balance. This action once again proves their monopoly position and unreasonable behavior ”, said a spokesman.
But today's statement doesn't mean Facebook doesn't have to abide by the federal government's proposed code. Value has already been transferred and Facebook has been benefiting from our content for years. We should have access to their monopoly platform and the right to monetize our content.
"We have negotiated in good faith with Facebook and we remain willing to negotiate a deal with them that will produce a mutually beneficial outcome and ensure that all Australians can get quality information on their platform."
"ABC News is Australia's number one digital news service and the most trusted news outlet in the country," said director David Anderson.
ABC's digital news services will always remain free and accessible to all Australians on the ABC website and through the ABC News app, which provides independent and reliable news, information and analysis.
Despite major issues, such as the COVID-19 pandemic that has ongoing implications for all Australians, Facebook today removed important and credible news and information sources from its Australian platform.
"Following this development, we will continue our conversations with Facebook today."
Minister Fletcher said Facebook's move is likely to increase the amount of disinformation on Facebook.
"There are already questions about the credibility of information and resources on the Facebook platform," he told Ben Fordham on 2GB radio.
"They actually say to Australians," If you're looking for reliable news, Facebook isn't the place to look for it. "
Think tank Reset Australia said the moved showed that Mr Zuckerberg does not care 'about Australian society and cohesion'.
`` Facebook tells Australians that rather than meaningfully participating in regulatory efforts, it would favor a platform where real news has been given up or prioritized, allowing misinformation to fill the void, '' said director Chris Cooper.
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young of the Greens, who fiercely grilled Facebook and Google representatives in a senate investigation last month, condemned the move.
Blocking Australian news overnight, while hate speech and dangerous conspiracy theories run rampant.
"Facebook has just confirmed it's really just FakeBook," she said.
FACEBOOK'S CHANGES TO NEWS IN AUSTRALIA
Facebook has restricted social media publishers and users in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content.
What does this mean for Australian news organizations?
Australian news organizations are not allowed to share or post content on Facebook pages
Admins can still access Page Insights and Creator Studio on their Facebook pages
Facebook said they will continue to provide access to other standard services, including data tools and CrowdTangle
What does this mean for international news organizations?
International news organizations can still post to Facebook, but Australian users cannot see or share the content
What does this mean for Australian Facebook users?
Australian Facebook users will not be able to view or share Australian or international news content
What does this mean for international Facebook users?
International Facebook users will not be able to view or share Australian news content on Facebook
Those in favor of the law say the rules are necessary to `` protect public interest journalism '' by ensuring that outlets are paid for content that social media and search engine users read and share.
But industry giants Google and Facebook are vehemently against the rule, arguing that it doesn't fully understand the relationship between tech companies and news outlets.
The law understands the relationship between tech platforms and publishers `` fundamentally wrong, '' Facebook said, adding that it helped Australian publishers earn about $ 407 million through referrals last year.
The move has already been labeled "very disturbing" by journalists and media experts, who fear the lack of good, verified news will help spread false information online.
The decision means that Daily Mail Australia's nearly five million followers will no longer have access to our news content on Facebook
A release from the company reads, “The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content.
It has presented us with a stark choice: try to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia.
"With a heavy heart we choose the latter."
It adds, "We were willing to launch Facebook News in Australia and significantly expand our investments with local publishers, but we were only willing to do so with the right rules."
Facebook said Australian users will not be able to read or share news content on the platform, and Australian news publishers will be restricted from posting or sharing content on Facebook pages.
Satirical news sites, including the Betoota Advocate, The Shovel and The Chaser, have become entangled in Facebook's ban on Australians from sharing news.
Discussions between Mr. Frydenberg and Mr. Zuckerberg on Sunday led the former to believe a deal was imminent.
"They are very focused on what is happening here in Australia, but I feel that they are also trying to make deals, which is welcome," said Mr Frydenberg.
A government-controlled Senate Committee has already recommended approving the new negotiating code, which covers digital platforms and news media.
The move is in response to the country's proposed media negotiation law, which forces tech companies like Facebook and Google to negotiate their content with news providers (photo: an empty Facebook news site)
On Thursday, the search engine giant signed a global deal to pay for content from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp after Australian media companies negotiated terms with the tech giant.
The behemoth of Silicon Valley has hastily negotiated with Australian media companies after lawmakers said they would consider forcing Big Tech to pay for the content it reproduces on its platforms.
Australia's two largest free-to-air TV stations, Seven West Media and Nine Entertainment, have reportedly already signed deals with Google worth $ 60 million per year.
News Corp said it would receive `` significant payments '' from Google in its three-year deal, which will be featured in the Times and the Sun newspapers in the UK, the Wall Street Journal and New York Post in the US, and the Sky News TV. channel in Australia.
The deal includes audio and video, and News Corp will also get a share of Google's ad revenue.
Robert Thomson, News Corp's CEO, thanked Australian officials in a statement, saying they were "committed to their country and to journalism."
Mr Frydenberg previously confirmed on Wednesday that the state-owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation was also under negotiation and planned to spend Google revenue on regional journalism.
“Negotiations are currently underway with all the big players and the small players,” said Mr Frydenberg.
"This will preserve journalism of public interest in this country for years to come."
Mr. Frydenberg said that "none of these deals would take place" if there were no bill to create a so-called News Media Bargaining Code.
Politicians debated in the House of Representatives on Wednesday about amended legislation to establish the code.
The code would create an arbitration panel to set a binding price for news in cases where Google and Facebook failed to reach deals with media companies whose original journalism they link.
"All I've heard from parties, both in the news media business and digital platforms, is that these are generous deals," said Mr. Frydenberg.
'These are fair deals. These are good deals. These are good deals for the Australian media companies. '
The ban has baffled Michael Rowland, co-host of ABC News Breakfast, who tweeted, 'Facebook to ban users in Australia from viewing or sharing Australian and international news content. Wow!'
He later tweeted that the ABC Facebook feed had gone black.
"Unbelievable," he posted.
Federal MP Rebekha Sharkie later told the program that Facebook was at risk of becoming `` irrelevant. ''
"Look, I think we're a small market in Australia and I think Facebook feels they can flex their muscles," she said.
'Ultimately, I think they have to be very careful that they don't become irrelevant. We can all only watch so many funny cat videos.
'People mainly get their news from Facebook or other services and I think people might look to other platforms if Facebook doesn't want to share.
Other journalists have taken to Twitter to express their shock.
Facebook's move to prevent Australians from seeing or sharing news content will only lead to more disinformation on FB, without the ability to post factual news stories to refute the nonsense. This is very concerning, ”Guardian journalist Josh Taylor told News Breakfast.
Google and Facebook, which together consume 81 percent of online advertising in Australia, have condemned the code as unworkable.
Mr. Frydenberg said after talks over the weekend with Facebook chief Mr. Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet, and its subsidiary Google, that he was convinced the platforms want to `` enter into these commercial agreements. ''
"We've held the line and kept it strong," said Mr. Frydenberg.
"And the digital giants have left no doubts about the… government's decision."
Google confirmed that it was "in discussions with publishers large and small." It did not include terms of the News Corp. deal.
Facebook would also be looking for news offerings, but said it had nothing to confirm at this point.
Australian deals with Google are negotiated according to Google's proprietary model, News Showcase.
Since the launch of News Showcase in October, the company has entered into pay agreements with more than 450 publications worldwide.
The Australian deals reduce the $ 76 million that Google will distribute to 121 publishers in France in three years, which equates to an average of $ 209.000 per year per publisher.