It's Gone! Surfing's social media hit
In a case of 'be careful what you wish' for, Facebook has this morning pulled the plug on every Australian media outlet.
The move follows talks between Big Tech - read: Facebook and Google - and the Federal Government, operating at the behest of News Corp. At issue was the fair use of third party content, with publishers arguing for fair remuneration by tech companies that accessed and distributed content across their platforms.
For its part, Big Tech argued that it enabled a larger readership for outlets via sharing and searches.
Last week, Google tested the waters with targetted restrictions, and then followed it up with a negotiated deal that will see publishers remunerated when Google hosts third party content.
Facebook, however, walked away from negotiations and simply flicked the switch, shutting down the news feed on every Australian publisher. And 'news' is a broad term on social media, including everything from straight reporting - the ABC, Nine Media, News Corp all have no posts on FB - to the weather - the Bureau of Meteorology has also been disappeared - to surfing sites such as Swellnet, Tracks, Beach Grit, and even the World Surf League.
The list of companies caught up is haphazard and may possibly change in the future. There'll also be a rush of companies changing their Facebook description from 'News/Media' to...well, anything else.
Any company that's built a buisness model around broadcasting news across Facebook will be adversely affected. Most obvious will be content aggregation publishers and clickbait sites that rely on sensational headlines to draw people from social media.
For the WSL, its 'It's On!' campaign is largely reliant on Facebook for its flexible, unscheduled contact with fans. Contest organisers could follow the conditions not the clock, and fans could log on irrespective of the time - or the time zone.
The way things currently sit, not only will the WSL be unable to reach Australian fans via Facebook, their livestreams will also be inaccesible by Australian surfers. It's possible they may be able to piggyback onto Surfing Australia - considered a Government Organisation in the eyes of Facebook - who are today livestreaming the Great Lakes Pro at Pacific Palms.
The WSL has also followed the lead of other for profit sports companies by rebranding themselves as a 'media house', distributing content marketing via social media. Those WSL franchises - Brilliant Corners, The Lineup, Getting Heated - will also take a hit.