In a 67-page disclosure to the Australian Congress, whistleblowers have alleged that Facebook, now Meta, had deliberately removed government, emergency helplines, and health websites in 2021 in order to oppose proposed unfavourable legislation. The potential law had required Facebook to pay publishers for news.
Whistleblowers have accused the social media platform that it had intentionally blocked pages of Australian government departments and emergency health websites in 2021 so as to negatively influence the proposed law.
The disclosures describe how internal efforts were made at Facebook in order to break the February 2021 standoff with the Australian government. It is anticipated that the government was taking into consideration a bill that would force online platforms like Facebook to pay the publishers for posting news items on their websites.
In response to this, Facebook blocked the Australians as well as the publishers from sharing or seeing news on the platform.
The whistleblowers have gone on to say that this blackout was so vast that it even prevented access to government and health services pages. To this, Facebook blamed the problem on its computer system.
The whistleblowers further alleged that Facebook was exerting its pressure against other governments too over similar proposed laws. It is predicted that the British, Canadian, and US lawmakers are also considering the same law as the Australians.
All this shows only one thing, how aggressive and misleading practices Facebook has. Previously Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager who was one of the key whistleblowers of Facebook told CNET that the company would put profits in front of users’ safety.