On Thursday, Facebook banned news on its platform in Australia, including users and media outlets sharing/viewing national and international news. The ban was in protest against a legislation that would have forced Facebook and other tech giants to pay the media outlets for the news generated on their platforms.
Facebook's unprecedented move came just as the country was set to start its vaccination drive, with the government declaration of a publicity program as well. However, responding to the ban, the officials have decided not to advertise on Facebook. Several government-operated pages, including emergency alerts for weather, hurricanes and forest fires, had to stop services after the ban. They were restored only after protests.
Hours before the administration of BioNTech and Pfizer vaccines, Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government would launch an extensive communication campaign, including an online campaign, to help the more vulnerable people volunteer for vaccinations. Hunt said the health ministry would continue to ban advertising on Facebook until the dispute between the tech giants and the Australian government was resolved. "Corporate giants are acting as sovereign threats here. We will not allow it …," he added.
Meanwhile, the Australian Prime Minister has given a sign of peace following the heated dispute. He informed the media that Facebook has temporarily "restored their friendship". However, he did not add further.