Facebook Blocks News Content in Australia – Consequences & Workarounds

https://digitalcitizen.ca/category/writing/As of Thursday morning in Australia, Facebook has blocked all news content from around the world to be shared on its social media platform! There was an Australian law set to go into effect where Facebook, and other social media platforms, would have to pay fees to news publishers for news content shared on their platforms, either in deals directly with the publishers, or directly to the Australian government. Google has complied, as described in this BBC article with Robert Murdoch’s News Corporation, among others. Facebook, meanwhile, has opted to go the other way, which, as far as I’m concerned, is bad news for Facebook unless it changes because I don’t think it’s going to win this one… and this could be the first step in likely many, to Facebook’s demise. I’m not saying that demise will happen fast or anything, as they’ll go down fighting, but if they stick to this mentality, they’ll be going down because unlike other big tech giants, they don’t have a lot of other revenue sources than advertising. That was partly why I proposed Apple build its own privacy-enhanced social media platform, because they have other revenue streams and can “starve out” Facebook. But beyond all that, here are some other consequences to Facebook’s decision.

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Don’t You Love a Good World Drama like with the Chilean Miners?

Like a tens of millions of people around the world, I am watching the final phases leading to the rescue capsule attempt to extract the first of 33 Chilean miners trapped for 68 days now. I really am, blogging during commercials.

There always seems to be “big” breaking news these days, especially on all news network like CNN or CBC Newsworld in Canada. However, every once in a while, something really big comes along, and it is really something to see and feel the world focused on an event like this. I know people watching. I see updates on my Facebook page. I can see people watching walking around in public areas with television screens. Even some sports bars have this drama instead of sports because, in all honesty, it’s far more drama than any sport can provide.

Speaking of television, I wonder what the event will do to the television ratings of shows tonight? And who’s going to be saying I was watching (fill in a Tuesday night show) instead of this at the water cooler at work on Wednesday? What are people going to think of them?

I’m not one to be glued to the television, and definitely not a news junkie, but I can’t remember being this captivated by news since 9/11, and then the start of the Iraq War before that in the 1990s. Very fortunately, this has a much more hopeful and inspirational tone.

But let’s not forget, things could still go wrong. They talk about the potential technical problems. They talk about the potential problems with the physical and mental health of the men as they will take this journey up the shaft back into the world, and the journey back into the social world as everything would have changed in their lives. Not just by the event but family dynamics that made due without them. Roles will have been changed and may forever be changed. Some will use the mine ordeal as excuses to warrant deserving any number of things in their relationships, which will only be tolerated for some time. Certainly, potential career changes will have to be contemplated as going back down into a mine for the next shift won’t be so easy. There will be the media and social circus that some won’t handle well, whether from stress or new opportunities for which they will abandon their old families and/or livelihood given the temptations of fame, and maybe money that comes with it as far as interviews, book and/or movie deals, etc. So much to adapt to and handle that I wonder if 5 or 10 years from now, some of the miners might say the time after the ordeal was more difficult for them to handle than the ordeal itself of being trapped for all that time. Most people can’t handle fame, you know… even the ones who have been living in it for a long time.

Despite all the things anticipated, I can’t help wonder if there might be any potential drama back in the mine when the time comes to get the men out one by one. There’s been a list drawn up, but what if someone decides to buck that at the last moment? It might be out of panic not to have to wait so long, or maybe for some other reasons. There will be rescuers sent down who could be taken hostage, and so on. Humans are a little unpredictable in that sense.

And they will have to repeat this journey 33 miners times so there are plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong.

And what then when something goes wrong? Will they cut off the coverage?

Well, I’ll try not to think about it. Let’s not anyone think about it.

Positive thinking from here on in for everyone’s safety. It might take 2-3 days in total for everyone to get out so after the euphoria of the first rescue, there will still be lots of anticipation and one more spike when the last person comes up.

In the meanwhile, I’ll go and pray. I’m not religious, but I’m not against praying to all the deities out there, either. Let’s just say I believe in praying.

Best wishes to the Chilean miners for a safe return to the surface and to a more regular life. The world is with you.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.7

The Tragedy of Having Your Death Trumped, Farrah Fawcett by Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett

Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett

Life is unfair, but death can be, too.

After a life time of achievements, a long public battle with anal cancer, and a “love” story that was never allowed to be completed, Farrah Fawcett died today (June 25 2009).

However, before Farrah’s body even became cold, news broke of the death of larger than life pop star icon Michael Jackson. Jackson collapsed in his home in the Holmby Hills district of Los Angeles at about noon Pacific Standard Time. He died of what is known as sudden cardiac arrest. That’s when the heart stops beating and quivers because an artery is blocked, which could be caused by substance abuse. “Substance” includes prescription drugs, with which Michael was suspected of having trouble. An autopsy is scheduled for June 26, which should be telling. He is survived by three children and two ex-wives. [ CNN story, CNN Larry King Live interview, CBC, June 25 2009]

Now, everything from Twitter to all the news network to Facebook and such is flooded with nothing, and I mean nothing, but the life and death of Michael Jackson. Nobody gives a damn about Farrah Fawcett any more, it seems. Just like that. Forgotten within hours with one piece of news.

Such a shame. Death can be just as unfair as life.

On a different note, though. Despite Michael Jackson’s death being a big shock to the world, the scenes I’m seeing on TV is of people dancing in joy, smiling and laughing to MJ’s music. They’re not crying like the memory I have of John Lennon‘s death, having been in Canada just months when it happened and having no idea who he was at the time because children were so deprived of information in Viet Nam. Lennon’s death was a completely mysterious phenomenon to me trying to figure out what was going on, seeing repeated pictures of all those people crying and pictures of this gentle looking man with those round spectacles.

There are many reasons why people would mourn the deaths of John Lennon and Michael Jackson differently, but I’ll leave that to you. It’s definitely interesting to analyze. I just didn’t expect what I am seeing of people “mourning” Michael’s death, though I am glad to see they are celebrating his life more than mourning his death. Below is a video of Billie Jean, my favourite Michael Jackson song to dance to, and I’m going to go do that like those other people.

In the meanwhile, though, give Farrah Fawcett a thought or two, eh?

And don’t forget all those protesters in Iran, who are dying without mention but whose cause is also now lost on the media for a while. It is about the worst thing that could have happened to them and their cause, to have a pop star steal the media from them. Michael Jackson is still impacting the world like nobody can!

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.2