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News companies across the Pacific have found themselves unexpectedly caught out in Facebook's snap decision to ban news content in Australia, with some fearing they could lose advertising revenue as a result.
The sudden change came on Thursday morning of last week, when people in Australia found they could not post, share or access news through the social media site.
But as well as blocking Australian news content from being shared around the Pacific, the ban also means most Pacific news stories can't shared in Australia.
Fijian Broadcasting Corporation's director of news and sport, Indra Singh, said his organisation would lose a significant portion of its audience due to the ban.
“It does all interlink and it does, we'll have a have an impact on us.”
The ban is also concerning for Fijians living in Australia who use Facebook to access news from their home country.
Cairns resident Amelina Naivaluwaqa said she relied heavily on the social media platform to stay up-to-date with breaking news in Fiji, most recently in the case of tropical cyclone Yasa.
“I went into Facebook [when the cyclone hit] and I tried to access all the websites from all the news companies back home,” Naivaluwaqa said.
“I wanted to read all the news, as well as look at the photos.”
She said the Facebook ban would significantly impact the Fijian community in Australia.
The social media giant implemented the ban in response to the Australian Government's proposed media bargaining code, which is expected to pass the Senate this week and become law.
Under the new code, Facebook would be forced to pay news companies for the stories that appear in people's news feeds.
Facebook and the Government are now in negotiations about the code, but neither has indicate it is willing to budge.
Sheena Hughes from Papua New Guinean television company EMTV said she hoped the parties would come to an agreement soon.
“We have lots of New Guineans that reside in Australia. So obviously, them not having access to what's going on at home is a bit of concern for us,” Hughes said.
Pacific Islands News Association
Who & What is PINA?
International News Safety Institute (INSI)
Media Helping Media