Facebook ban

What Facebook’s ban means for property

PHOTO: Facebook media ban in Australia

The real estate industry is not immune to Facebook’s latest decision to block the sharing and viewing of local and international news content in Australia.

As of Thursday morning, Facebook has implemented a ban on “publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing” news, including property listings shared by platforms realestate.com.au and Domain.

While Facebook’s news ban comes amid Australia’s determination to push through a new media bargaining law, the social media platform appears to have adopted a blanket approach when determining the meaning of “news content”.

As such, listings platforms realestate.com.au and Domain having been classed as “news” providers, and therefore links from their sites – and consequently, listings – have been stripped from the platform.

In an emailed response to SPI’s sister brand nestegg, a company spokesperson for Facebook said: “The actions we’re taking are focused on restricting publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content.

“As the law does not provide clear guidance on the definition of news content, we have taken a broad definition in order to respect the law as drafted. However, we will reverse any pages that are inadvertently impacted,” the spokesperson added.

According to Angel Zhong, an expert from RMIT University, the absence of news updates on Facebook will make it hard for investors to stay up to date with the latest developments in the market and the economy.

Speaking about the property market in particular, Ms Zhong said: “I would expect that this will cause delayed reaction and information asymmetry in property investing.”

Stay calm

Responding to news of the ban, Domain revealed it is in direct discussions with Facebook and through its major shareholder Nine.

“We are hopeful that a resolution will be found quickly that is mutually beneficial to both parties,” a spokesperson for Domain said.

“Unfortunately, Facebook has taken this position without prior notice, and with limited customer support,” the listing platform added.

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