News – AU – “They spat out the dummy”: WA Premier accuses Facebook of acting like a “North Korean dictator”


WA Prime Minister Mark McGowan has accused Facebook of “acting like a North Korean dictator” by state officials three weeks before an election for its statewide ban on news content that has deleted the pages

Australians have been prevented from viewing or sharing news content from any editorial sites, including news organizations

Mr McGowan said the social media giant “spat out the dummy” and acted “bullying and intimidating”

“They [Facebook] obviously spat the dummy, they are acting more like North Korea than an American company, and I would like to urge the American government to help us out here,” said McGowan

“You are an American company, I would like to urge the American government to assist us in resolving this matter”

Calling the move “inappropriate and dangerous,” the prime minister said it deprived the public of important information during a pandemic

“They removed websites that let people know about health issues in the middle of a pandemic,” he said

WA opposition leader Zak Kirkup’s Facebook page was deleted by the Facebook ban, while Mr McGowan’s page appeared to be untouched – three weeks before the March state elections

Earlier, Mr. McGowan requested the immediate restoration of all affected candidate sites

“You should restore all websites in the middle of a campaign It is not democratic to close [Mr Kirkup] ‘s Facebook page. Put it back on”

While Mr Kirkup first looked at page removal this morning, he later said it was very disappointing that Facebook removed its page just a few weeks after the election

Facebook said its actions are in response to the federal government’s proposed media negotiation laws that would force major tech giants to pay Australian news outlets for their content

The company’s Asia-Pacific chief politician said it was the government’s proposed law – rather than failure to test its algorithm – that caused them to “accidentally” block some sites

“When you take content from Australian journalists [and] organizations they should pay for it, otherwise they will destroy their host, “he said

Mr Kirkup said he was “surprised and shocked” to see his page removed after it was “clearly caught up” in the algorithm Facebook used to block message content

“It was very disappointing to have the opposition leader’s side arbitrarily knocked out in the middle of an election campaign,” he said

“I think it shows the vulnerability and fragility of our democracy, especially when we rely on these massive social media giants who are really not accountable to anyone”

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But the liberal leader said it would not stop his party advertising on the social media platform

“We have to spend money on advertising where there are people, that’s the reality, and Facebook did a good job of wooing everyone to make sure you stay on their app,” he said

Mr Kirkup said Facebook’s actions had reinforced its support for the federal government’s call for a binding code

“If Facebook responds by effectively spitting out the dummy and shutting down access to these outlets, I find that disappointing,” he said

West Australian Newspapers editor-in-chief Anthony De Ceglie has compared the backlash against Facebook to that against Google, a social media giant that his newspaper overpayments for news services with

“What Google found in our negotiations with Google is that when they threatened to search Australia they saw the reactions of the Australian public and Australian politicians,” he said

“That’s where the penny dropped in my opinion and they realized they needed a real partnership with media companies”

Mr De Ceglie said the Western Australian, PerthNow and their associated regional newspapers have suffered an estimated 20 percent loss in online traffic due to the Facebook culling

“I think they will find the same thing except they will find it 10x or 20x because if google feels like the australian public turned them on with their threat to google search, Facebook will likely find it”That the Australian public will not forget this

“They may be the biggest company in the world, but they are no bigger than the Australian public”

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Zak Kirkup, Mark McGowan, Facebook, Prime Minister of Western Australia, North Korea, Opposition Leader, West Australian State Elections 2021, Prime Minister

News – AU – ‘You spat the dummy out’: WA Premier accuses Facebook of acting like ‘North Korean dictator’