WA Premier Mark McGowan has accused Facebook of “behaving like a North Korean dictator” over its nationwide ban on news content which has included wiping the pages of state MPs three weeks out from an election.
- The State Opposition Leader’s page was wiped overnight
- Other candidates have also been affected ahead of the WA election
- The Premier has accused Facebook of “bullying”
Australians have been blocked from viewing or sharing news content from publishers’ pages, including news organisations.
Mr McGowan said the social media giant had “spat the dummy” and had acted in a “bullying and intimidatory manner”.
He urged the US government to intervene to help resolve the issue.
“They’ve [Facebook] obviously spat the dummy, they’re behaving more like North Korea than an American company and I’d urge the American government to assist us here,” Mr McGowan said.
“They’re an American company, I’d urge the American government to assist us in resolving this matter.”
The Premier called the move “inappropriate and dangerous”, saying it had deprived the public of important information during a pandemic.
“They’ve taken down sites that advise people of health issues in the middle of a pandemic,” he said.
Removing MP pages ‘anti-democratic’: McGowan
WA Opposition Leader Zak Kirkup’s Facebook page was wiped clean by Facebook’s ban, while Mr McGowan’s page appeared to be untouched — three weeks out from the March state election.
Mr McGowan called for Mr Kirkup’s page to be reinstated immediately, along with other affected candidate pages.
“What they’re doing is anti-democratic,” he said.
While Mr Kirkup appeared to make light of the page removal, in a statement he said it was very disappointing Facebook removed his page just weeks from the election.
Mr McGowan said Facebook should cooperate and “pay for content”.
“If they take content from Australian journalists [and] organisations … they should pay for it, otherwise they are going to destroy their host,” he said.
“They are just going to destroy journalism in Australia and that’s wrong.”