Australia’s ABC News App has become extremely popular with Australians, who can no longer access local and country-wide news on Facebook. The app is a resource that connects users with news content created by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It is available on the App Store and Google Play.
As you may have heard, Facebook blocked all Australian news content from Australian news publishers. Facebook chose this drastic measure in an effort to avoid complying with legislation called the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) which would require platforms like Facebook to pay news organizations for their content.
Facebook got overzealous in deciding what to remove, and blocked Australian government accounts, state health departments, weather information, and even Facebook’s own Facebook page. Other collateral damage included blocking emergency services, public officials, food banks and charities. It is my understanding that some of that has been restored.
Financial Times’ Uma Patel tweeted: “ABC has used facebook’s ban to prompt visitors to download its app… it became the most downloaded app in Australia… although the next four are all owned by Facebook and the sixth is a company fb tried to buy.”
I think this is a good sign! Australians who have grown accustomed to scrolling through news on Facebook on their phone can replace that with ABC’s News App. I’m hoping that this inspires more news organizations to create their own news apps. The result could influence people to spend less time on Facebook.
There is another good reason for news organizations to make their own apps (or to advertise their existing ones). Facebook is likely to engage in the same shenanigans it imposed on its Australian users when other countries create legislation that is similar to Australia’s ACCC. When that happens, people will immediately be able to use their favorite news app to get their news.