The billionaire co-founder of graphic design business Canva has blasted the Australian Government’s decision to force Facebook to as he backs the social media giant’s ban on news.
Cliff Obrecht, who helps run the $7.6billion software company, said while the ban was ‘unfortunate’ for Australian consumers, he supported Facebook for standing up to the government.
The social media conglomerate blocked Australian users from seeing and sharing local news last Thursday in response to a new law to make tech giants pay media companies for news content on their sites.
Facebook, helmed by founder Mark Zuckerberg, also accidentally blocked the pages of domestic violence helplines, charities, government pages, and Covid information – before slowly undoing the accidental shutdown.
Cliff Obrecht, (pictured) the billionaire co-founder of graphic design business, Canva, has blasted the Australian government’s decision to regulate Facebook as he backs the social media giant’s ban on news
‘I think what the government was doing was stupid and I think good on Facebook for just saying ”We’re not going to put up with your bull***t policies”,’ Mr Obrecht told The Age.
‘Which unfortunately means Australian consumers, Australian internet users, are going to have a poorer experience.’
The move from Facebook outraged many Australians with some boycotting the social media platform altogether.
The pages of some health services, charities and emergency services were all wiped – sparking widespread fury across the country.
Mr Obrecht said the Australian government needed to have a ‘good hard look at themselves’ and should have spoken with tech companies before trying to put forward new rules.
The pages of some health services, charities and emergency services were all wiped – sparking widespread fury across the country
Mr Obrecht said the Australian government needed to have a ‘good hard look at themselves’ and should have spoken with tech companies before trying to put forward new rules (pictured Scott Morrison in Canberra on Monday)
‘I think the Australian government should start a real dialogue with Australian internet companies like Atlassian and us for a start and and not just have these suits, who have no idea about the internet or business in general, because they are career politicians, trying to make policies for society and internet companies,’ he said.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on Sunday banned the Health Department from advertising on Facebook.
When asked by journalist David Speers on ABC Insiders if the Health Department would still advertise the vaccine on Facebook, Mr Hunt said no.
‘I spoke to my office to make sure on Thursday that we were not doing that,’ he said on Sunday.
‘I will check that my department is not, but on my watch, until this issue is resolved, there will not be Facebook advertising.’
Mr Hunt said his office had already halted all advertising spend with Facebook, and that no ads had been commissioned or instituted since the government’s dispute with the social media giant arose.
Nine News was one of many news sites that had their Facebook pages blocked
Facebook’s news sharing block on Thursday morning also briefly stopped state health department pages from posting including SA Health and Queensland Health.
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham is confident media bargaining legislation will sail through parliament without any more amendments to appease Facebook.
After the government spent the weekend trying to negotiate a resolution with Mr Zuckerberg, the proposed bargaining code is now being discussed in the Senate.
Senator Birmingham said there were some promising signs following the fresh round of talks.
The bargaining code is expected to pass the Senate sometime this week.
Facebook also inadvertently removed the pages of domestic violence helplines, charities, government pages and Covid information