UPDATE: Facebook unblocks ‘news’ from vital ACT websites

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The ACT Health Facebook page earlier on Thursday morning.

FACEBOOK had singled out a number of ACT public information sites among many others in Australia, placing their news feeds on its sudden banned list.

But several hours later it restored the status of many publicly-funded community updates, including ACT Health, after mistakenly confusing their sites for daily online news stories.

The world’s leading social media provider made the decision overnight to prevent websites of mostly privately-owned news organisations that also includes “CityNews” from appearing on its network.

The Facebook page of ABC Canberra, a publicly-funded corporation that ran its first ACT radio station in 1953, has also not been spared by the nationwide sanction.

The bans were in response to the Australian government urging both Facebook and Google to pay for news content as part of a proposed federal media bargaining code legislation.

But ACT Health was one of the territory’s first government Facebook groups unblocked after the rash decision to lump all information providers in the same category.

The ACT Health website says: “This page has been set up as a single point of truth about the ACT government response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Information on this page is being constantly updated and renewed by a team of cross-government staff.”

A spokesperson had earlier told “CityNews” that ACT Health was working with Facebook to unblock its account.

ACT Health considers Facebook its “primary source of information” in the midst of the global pandemic.

“Facebook is an important channel for us to get out our communications,” the ACT Health spokesperson said.

“It’s become part and parcel of how we communicate to the public.”

The Bureau of Meteorology Facebook page was also restored after issuing out a statement.

The executive agency of the federal government that has been responsible for providing free weather services for more than 100 years requested Canberra social media users to remain up to date via its twitter feed.

Every state and territory, but for the ACT, has its own twitter handle.


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In a world beleaguered by spin and confused messages, there's never been more need for diverse, trustworthy, independent journalism in Canberra.

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