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Australians wake up to Facebook news blackout

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Australians wake up to Facebook news blackout | The Thaiger

Facebook is under fire as Australians accuse the social media giant of censoring news along with emergency services in an apparent blackout. This morning, residents logged in, saying they weren’t able to post links to news articles or view the Facebook pages of any news outlets worldwide.

The move that has essentially blocked Australia from being in the loop, comes after its government proposed laws that would make social media outlets pay for news content to be shared onto their sites. But Facebook’s retaliation efforts also created chaos as fire, meteorological and health services nationwide began to experience problems with their pages, even during several public emergencies.

In response to the angry backlash, a Facebook spokesperson said official government pages shouldn’t have been affected by the announcement this morning, and that the company would fix any pages that were inadvertently impacted.

Human Rights Watch Australia director Elaine Pearson, however, is concerned as she says the block has also impacted Indigenous community pages, charities, and even Facebook’s own page. Pearson described the move as an “alarming and dangerous turn of events.”

“Facebook is severely restricting and censoring the flow of information to Australians. Cutting off access to vital information to an entire country in the dead of the night is unconscionable.”

Despite being unable to access news organisations’ pages on the site, misinformation pages and fact-checking pages are still within reach, prompting many to call into question the role that journalists play in news gathering. The big question that critics have is how media organisations that employ qualified journalists, who go through a fact-checking process, are being blocked from the site, yet misinformation campaign pages and well-known conspiracy pages are allowed to be displayed.

Facebook’s manager for Australia and New Zealand, William Easton, says the proposed law, however, “fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content.”

Easton says Facebook could either try to comply with a law that ignores the reality of such a relationship, or stop allowing news content on its services in Australia.

“With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter.”

Easton says the numbers don’t add up and favor news publishers heavily as they reap hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue by having Facebook disseminate their stories. He points to the proposed law as penalizing the social media platform for content that it “did not take or ask for.”

On the contrary, Australia’s watchdog for competition has revealed consistently that the breakdown for every $100 spent on online advertising deprives media outlets of revenue that is needed to support journalism. Google captures $53 of the $100, while Facebook captures $28. The rest is divided amongst others.

Australia isn’t alone in the push to even out the playing field, as other countries are mulling such moves to make tech platforms share revenues with news media outlets. But the choice to block the news before a decision is made by the courts could set a dangerous precedent.

The legislation put forth by the Australian government has already passed the House of Representatives in recent days, and is now on its way to being considered by the Senate.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Grumpy John

    Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 11:23 am

    I said on farcebook “Just finished putting my bread dough in the bread tins and waiting for the rising before cooking so clicked on The Thaiger web site and the headline is ” Australians wake up to Facebook news blackout” https://thethaiger.com/…/australians-wake-up-to… Do the farcebook fuckwits realise there are at least 100 other sites to read the news??? It is rather childish I think. Something the CCP would do….er, have done! ”

    These so called tech giants need to be taken down a peg or 2 or 3!

    • Avatar

      Singharacha

      Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 8:17 pm

      Of course FB does not shutdown pages which serve the US imperialist interests, and does shutdown everyone who oppose them or disagree with them.

  2. Avatar

    dispensed

    Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 2:17 pm

    Wow, I’m so conflicted between my hatred of the Australian nanny state and my hatred of Facebook and the news media…

    Probably a win for Australia since nothing good ever comes from the media these days, just mass hysteria.

  3. Avatar

    Ron

    Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 2:42 pm

    The good news is we can soon launch decentralized platforms via Blockchain technology, let’s say 5 years from now everyone uses it as if it was Facebook or Twitter. By that time users will be rewarded for their own content, owners too. Bye Silicon Valley mafia.

  4. Avatar

    Geoff

    Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 5:24 pm

    Why does anyone, sheep excluded, look to FB for news items? It’s the most sneaky, snidy, intrusive platform known to man. I hope they are reined in.

  5. Avatar

    Mark

    Friday, February 19, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    If you’re sourcing FB for your news, you deserve what you get. This is more about the partisanship between the Morrison government and the Australian media corporations who are crying poor. The media companies, represented by the LNP have well overplayed their hand on this one, and if truth be known profited nicely from their relationship with FB. They just wanted a bigger slice of the pie.

    • Avatar

      Jesus Monroe

      Friday, February 19, 2021 at 5:26 pm

      Correct Mark. This is all about Murdoch lining his pockets and not giving a shit about the ordinary people being affected…….As for Morrison don’t get me started……

  6. Avatar

    Tony W

    Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 7:00 am

    We in Australia no longer receive any genuine news feeds from world news outlets on Facebook, even a small news outlets like The Thaiger are blocked.

    Facebook has done Australia a favour by blocking all genuine news feeds, we do not need to think or evaluate what we are reading, at least now we know that the only news now published on Facebook is FAKE news!!

  7. Avatar

    Buttaxe

    Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 2:59 pm

    Good to see so many readers cynical about Big Tech and Big State news. Use anything but MSM or Big Tech approved news sources.

    De-Google your life:
    Use DDK not Google search
    Use Brave browser ONLY.
    Use Telegram not Whatsapp
    Use GAB not Twitter
    Use Yandex translation not Google
    Use Yandex or Proton mail not Gmail

    • Avatar

      Singharacha

      Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 8:41 pm

      Fine!
      You have a lot of alternatives to US BigTech.

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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

Events

Houseowner discovers 3,000 year old skeletons on land in Ang Thong province

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Houseowner discovers 3,000 year old skeletons on land in Ang Thong province | The Thaiger

A houseowner in the central province of Ang Thong, has discovered 3 skeletons on his land that are thought to be over 3,000 years old. 54 year old Somkiat Briboon says this most recent discovery isn’t the first, as the first lot of bones was found last year after preparing his 17 rai worth of land, in Sawang Ha District, to be rented out for sugarcane farming.

It was then that he found 9 skeletons, only later to find 6 more. The skeletons were found with bowls and other kitchen utensils found laying on top of them. He transferred the skeletons to his home, wrapping them in blue sheets, describing some of the bones as smaller in size, resembling that of women or children.

He says he also found ancient artifacts with the bones and arranged to have them shipped to Bangkok’s Fine Arts Department for research purposes. But he says he wants to eventually build his own museum housing the display of bones and artifacts for educational purposes.

Although the discovery is exciting, its creepiness factor has repelled Somkiat’s friends from visiting him as many are afraid of ghosts or spirits. To add to his friends’ concerns, he says ever since the skeletons and artifacts were moved into his home, strange things have been happening.

One of those unsettling things is the feeling that there are many people walking around inside his home at all hours of the day. He says when he tries to search for the source of the eery sounds, he finds nothing. Somkiat says he isn’t afraid of the spirits and even talks to them often. He even says his sleep isn’t disturbed as he sleeps well at night while the skeletons are in his home.

The Fine Arts Department has been notified of the most recent finding, but it is unclear on whether they will move the new skeletons to Bangkok to join the others.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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Thailand

Social distancing for Songkran, Thailand’s New Year water festival

Caitlin Ashworth

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Social distancing for Songkran, Thailand’s New Year water festival | The Thaiger
Songkran 2019 in Koh Tao / Photo by Caitlin Ashworth

Thailand’s massive water festival Songkran, celebrating the Thai New Year, got the “okay” as long as the festivities are in line with Covid-19 prevention measures. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says people need to abide by social distancing rules during the Songkran holiday from April 13 to 15… So make sure your water gun shoots at a long range.

For long distance water fights, the Super Soaker CPS 2000 is recommended by Wirecutter for the New York Times. They say it’s the most powerful mass-produced water gun in history, shooting at a 15-metre range at nearly a litre per second. The CPS 2000 is around $150 USD, so a more affordable option would be the plunger-style water gun from Steam Machine, which cost around $20 USD. While the Steam Machine water launchers can shoot at a range of up to 21 metres, it needs to be refilled often and is best used near a pool or a barrel of water.

Social distancing for Songkran, Thailand's New Year water festival | News by The Thaiger

Songkran 2019 in Koh Tao / Photo by Caitlin Ashworth

Allowing Songkran to take place this year is intended to help stimulate the economy which was battered over the past year due to the pandemic. Along with the prime minister, Culture Minister Itthiphol Kunplome also insisted that disease prevention measures must be strictly maintained, adding that social distancing and capacity limits are “chief” among the measures.

Popular spots for Songkran celebrations, like Bangkok’s Khao San Road, are given the “okay” to hold events, as long as they abide by the rules to prevent the spread of Covid-19. For Khao San Road, famous among foreign backpackers, the festival can give a boost to local businesses and vendors who have been struggling to earn an income due to the lack of tourists, according to president of the Khao San Business Association Sanga Ruangwattanakul.

“We know that it won’t help much as there are still no international tourists, but at least it is a good starting point to reignite business activities on Khao San Road… At the moment, we can only count on the support of local tourists to survive.”

He says 80% of the business activities on the street rely on foreign tourists. Many businesses that rely heavily on tourists, like massage shops and souvenir shops, there are “no customers at all.”

“For pubs and bars, there are just a few customers per night. Out of 500 entrepreneurs on the road, only 50 are still operating.”

Travel restrictions are likely to be eased in time for Songkran, Prayut says, adding that the government is still reviewing the rules for the holiday.

“The government is in the process of considering what can be allowed, whether to permit some activities or all of them. But if the virus spreads, the government might be blamed for it…So I call for your understanding. Easing restrictions is not an easy call to make since the government has to take responsibility for the whole country.”

Director of the Health Science Centre of Emerging Diseases at Chulalongkorn University, Thiravat Hemachudha, said he was concerned with the government’s plan to relax restrictions during the water festival. While the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration reported a decline in the number of daily coronavirus infections, he says the CCSA did not report on 100 infections at a plant in Samut Sakhon.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Wirecutter

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Events

Phuket Monopoly game creators need your help with token designs

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Phuket Monopoly game creators need your help with token designs | The Thaiger

Phuket is set to get its own version of the popular game MONOPOLY and its creators want your help with ideas for the specialised tokens. ‘MONOPOLY: Phuket Edition’ was announced last month which will see the street art on the board game replaced with that of famous places around Thailand’s famous tourist destination. Such art will include beaches, hotels, shops, markets and other popular attractions.

Jennifer Lau from Winning Moves UK, is producing the game under official license from Monopoly brand owners, Hasbro. Lau says the tokens will feature a holiday theme. The token’s departure from the original theme of wheelbarrows, boots, iron, and thimbles as well as popular sports cars and hats.

“We have had a wealth of emails and suggestions coming in for Phuket, so thank you for each and every single one of them! We are taking them all into consideration whilst putting together the design of the game.”

“We wanted to change the tokens so that they would be more suitable for an island like Phuket, where so many people like to go on holiday to.”

“There will be six themed tokens that replace the original and we want to hear your suggestions for what these tokens should be!”

Bangkok has already been featured in the Monopoly game as it came out for purchase back in 2018.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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