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No Facebook, no worries for your local newspaper

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By MATT NICHOLLS

THE decision by Facebook to ban Australian news from the social media platform should be of concern to all citizens, not just those in the media industry.

However, the impact will be minimal on your only local newspaper, Cape York Weekly.

We’ll still produce a paper each week, print it and distribute it around one of the most remote regions in Australia.

The newspaper will still be available to read for free online and our massive email distribution list will still get it in their inbox every Sunday night.

But that’s not the point.

When reputable news is taken off a platform, yet conspiracy theorists spouting fake news are allowed to remain, it says a lot about the moral fibre of the global company.

It also reminds us that Facebook doesn’t care about local communities or the people that live in them.

What it cares about is your personal data, which it harvests in unimaginable quantities.

Understandably, traffic to Australian news websites tumbled in the hours following Facebook’s news ban.

In Australia, 15 per cent of traffic to news websites comes from the social media giant.

While the Facebook ban might not have a major impact on this publication, it will have a major impact on others around the country.

As much as Murdoch media is a stain on journalism, we still live in a world that values free speech and the right to express political views.

Facebook might be right in that it shouldn’t have to pay for publishing news of other outlets but its decision to cut all news organisations from its platform was simply undemocratic and potentially dangerous.

Cape York Weekly urges the Australian government to sort out this mess with Facebook.

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