Facebook bans news websites at the height of the COVID and climate crisis

by Martin Zavin

19 February 2021

Yesterday the social media leviathan Facebook carried out its threat and banned all Australian news websites.

Facebook logo

More than half of all Australians get their news from social media.

The ABC, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian, SBS News, all our trusted news services have been silenced. But it’s not just the news that has been banned. All of these news services are vital sources of information for communicating environmental crimes and climate impacts like heatwaves, storms and cyclones.

These are all impacts of the climate crisis and they are only getting worse as the Morrison Government continues to support the mining and burning of coal, oil and gas.

ABC News provides life-saving extreme weather updates in times of emergencies like bushfires and floods – and it’s now been banned.  We all saw how important up-to-the-minute news was during last years’ horror bushfire season. How many lives were saved because people acted on the warnings of emergency services that were amplified by the ABC? And how many more lives would have been lost had that information not been available? 

In a time when the twin crises of climate change and COVID-19 are at their peaks, Facebook’s information ban is a huge blow for millions of people all over Australia. 

More than half of all Australians get their news from social media. But when the world’s biggest social platform media bans vital information and public interest reporting – a pillar of our democracy – we are here for you, because the truth matters. That’s why Greenpeace has set up The Canopy: a daily email newsletter of all the most important climate and environmental news stories of the day. 

Our team will be up bright and early every weekday morning to make sure that your inbox has the most important climate and environmental news before you even wake up.

We will continue to make sure environmental crimes are exposed in the media, even if Facebook chooses to turn a blind eye to them. And we will continue to make sure you get the stories that are most important to you because we support quality journalism in the public interest as a pillar of our democracy.

Sign up to The Canopy here.

Martin Zavin

By Martin Zavin

Martin Zavan is a communications and campaign officer with Greenpeace Australia Pacific. He joined the organisation as a media campaigner in late 2017 after a decade-long career in journalism.