The meaning of Facebook’s (brief) Australia news ban

On social media, even when a fact is agreed on, its meaning can easily be reverse-engineered. The thought came to mind watching Facebook’s battle with Australia over the country’s news media code.

The passage of the world-first News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code on February 25 handed a measure of commercial leverage back to Australia’s media, which had, like media elsewhere, seen its ad revenue chipped away at by the digital ecosystems created by Facebook and Google.

Following years of inquiries, the law was about to pass Parliament when Facebook, in what was seen as a hard-bargaining tactic, deplatformed Australian news. (Read the rest at Tech Policy Press).

Is Facebook good for reasoned debate?

This comment piece for The Age gets into the question. The debate comes in the context of a proposal from Australia that digital platforms like Facebook and Google reimburse local media outlets, like The Age, for the ad revenue that is diverted to the social media sites.

In response to the proposal, Facebook has threatened to block Australian news outlets from the platform.

As I write: there is a fundamental confusion over the aims of news and social media.

Full comment piece: Making good on Facebook’s threat to Australia

The meaning of D-Day for democracy today

Landing at Omaha Beach (photo: USCG)

D-day, the Allied invasion of Europe to liberate it from Nazi control, was a defining moment for democracy, one that sometimes seems clearer and more sure in each passing year. It seems our fractured and confused present sends us in search of the moral clarity that moment in June 1944 seems to offer.

While Allied soldiers stormed the beaches, the US had an important message for the public and the world: the system the soldiers would fight for aspired to genuine fairness.

Yes, it was war. But for democracy to be worth fighting for, it had to be fair. Fair for those doing the fighting, and fair for those on the home front. With that in mind, found among the hours of audio broadcasts from those fateful days, an important message was broadcast to the world about fairness in the military. Have a listen…