A LIGHTNING reaction by local MP Nick Dametto has reinstated a number of key news sites – including Ingham Daily Press – after they were deleted by Facebook.
Our local politician woke up on Thursday to discover that his social media page, which has 7.5 thousand followers, had been rubbed out.
The Bureau of Meteorology and Queensland Health had also been taken down – as had Ingham Daily Press.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg sanctioned the move in response to the federal government’s plans to force his social media company to pay for news content they share in Australia.
Using a suspected algorithm that picks up on key words such as ‘news’, Zuckerberg’s sucker-punch left the nation stunned.
But Dametto engineered a direct line to Facebook’s headquarters in the United States, via Australia’s federal Minister for Communications, Paul Fletcher, and a number of pages were quickly revived.
He said: ‘I applied political pressure and the voice of reason has got through to the right people.
‘The next move would have been getting in contact with a public policy adviser at Facebook.
‘The fact is people need to get the message out to the community.
‘It’s happened during what is a very dangerous time in North Queensland, with cyclones and floods threatening at any moment.
‘The BOM site and the Queensland Health site were down.’
The former Gilroy Santa Maria student had been trying to publicise weather disruption to schools in Tully on Thursday morning when he realised he had been shut down.
He added: ‘We had some school closures in lower the Tully region. When we tried to get it out we realised nothing was viewable.
‘I got a friend to check – and we had been blocked to the general public.
‘My first reaction was frustration, but that quickly changed into realising I needed to take action. I needed to help others, from the BOM through to Queensland Health.’
The freshly re-elected Hinchinbrook politician believes a number of sites became victims of a fight between two media giants.
‘My understanding is that there has been a commercial debate between Newscorp and Facebook for some time.
‘Pages that have nothing to do with News Corp or other news outlets were shut down.
‘To a lot of people their MP is used as a sounding board and a source of information.’
Facebook’s drastic decision to block access to Australian news pages for local audiences has prompted widespread calls for a permanent boycott of the social media service.
People have begun to share the hashtag #DeleteFacebook on rival social media platform Twitter.
If Facebook were to go ahead with a permanent ban of Australian news sources, which is thought to be unlikely, Instagram would also be affected, as it owned by Zuckerberg.
Twitter would continue to be available as a source to share news on social media.