On the 15th of May 2018 Facebook blocked a post I published on the 3rd of April exposing Capilano Honey selling imported Honey while the federal government agency, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), is currently investigating Facebook, Google and other new media companies on the impact they are having on journalism and old media companies.
One impact they’re having, given Facebook’s blocking of my article, is obviously censorship of social media websites like this one and that in effect also blocks all social media users from accessing legitimate media. We need to fight for our right for freedom of speech and political communication.
What makes Facebook’s conduct in blocking my post and the ACCC’s Digital platforms inquiry interesting is they are both being driven, at least in part, by old media company owner Kerry Stokes who controls Seven West Media.
Kerry Stokes also owns 19% of Capilano Honey and it’s his lawyers who would have written to Facebook complaining as they have done so many times before. Stokes lawyers are also notorious for writing threatening letters to Google, Facebook, and other journalists at News Corp, Fairfax and the ABC etc.
It’s also well-known that Kerry Stokes is one of the biggest complainers to government about Facebook and Google taking advertising revenue from his company Seven West Media. But it is very hypocritical of Stokes to on one hand complain about Google and Facebook while at the same time running SLAPP lawsuits by getting dodgy suppression and non-publication orders and using them to close down public debate on important issues such as his corrupt business practices. And also trying to silence small media players, social media users and the little man from expressing their opinion.
Stokes has recently been quoted as saying:
The unchecked market power of Google and Facebook is posing a threat to traditional media and risks harming consumers, Seven West Media has warned the Federal Government.
In a submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s inquiry into the impact of digital players on traditional media, SWM, publisher of The West Australian, has seized on the Cambridge Analytica data scandal to warn of the risks associated with the amount of consumer information being amassed.
“It is clear that regulators need to do more to investigate and shine a light on the behaviour of these two companies in data collection, and to consider whether the existing regulatory regime is sufficient to protect the interests of users,” the submission says. (Click here to read more)
Another way of interpreting what Stokes is saying is that he wants the government to regulate Google and Facebook more because “consumers” are sick of the lies of Stokes’ media such as Channel 7 and “consumers” are using Google and Facebook for their news and switching off 7 which is costing Stokes money.
Kerry Stokes has been suing me since April 2014 in various SLAPP lawsuits that have so far gone nowhere which is the standard strategy for SLAPP lawsuits. The Kerry Stokes controlled Capilano Honey and their CEO Ben McKee started suing me in October 2016 for articles I wrote about them. They were given a dodgy interim super-injunction which they have used to block numerous articles and have dragged out proceedings as long they can. They used the injunction to make the complaint to Facebook and I received the below email from Facebook. (The injunction is currently be reviewed by the court)
From: Facebook <email@example.com>
Sent: 15 May 2018 02:03
Subject: A Message from Facebook
We have rendered the following content that you have posted on Facebook unavailable to users in Australia because we received a report from a third-party that the content violates their rights and/or local law:
“Capilano Honey are using their Allowrie brand honey to dump imported Chinese Honey onto the Australian market at discounted prices with the help of Woolworths which puts Australian Beekeepers out of business”
We strongly encourage you to review the content you have posted to Facebook to make sure that you have not posted any other infringing content, as it is our policy to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers when appropriate.
The Facebook Team
A copy of the actual post is below. You can click here for the link but if you are in Australia you won’t be able to see it now as Facebook have said it was blocked on the 15 May 2018.
After I received the email from Facebook I went to Woolworths and filmed the below video to make a point that I can’t be silenced nor can other social media users.
(I will be doing more videos as per above over the next few weeks. Some I will publish here and some on Facebook so if you do not already follow my Facebook page you can here: www.facebook.com/kangaroocourtofaustralia)
Digital platforms inquiry
The ACCC is hosting public forums in May and August to discuss the impacts of digital platforms for consumers, advertisers (including small businesses), journalists and media organisations. These platforms include search engines (e.g. Google), social media (e.g. Facebook) and content aggregators (e.g. Apple News). (Click here to read more)
ACCC seeking views on news and digital platforms inquiry
The ACCC is looking forward to hearing the views of consumers, media organisations, digital platforms, advertising agencies and advertisers after today outlining the key issues it will be considering in its digital platforms inquiry.
As part of its public inquiry into the impact of digital platforms on media and advertising markets in Australia, the ACCC is seeking feedback on:
- Whether digital platforms have bargaining power in their dealings with media content creators, advertisers or consumers and the implications of that bargaining power.
- Whether digital platforms have impacted media organisations’ ability to fund and produce quality news and journalistic content for Australians
- How technological change and digital platforms have changed the media and advertising services markets, and the way consumers access news
- The extent to which consumers understand what data is being collected about them by digital platforms, and how this information is used
- How the use of algorithms affects the presentation of news for digital platform users.
“Digital platforms like Google and Facebook are part of the sweeping technological and cultural changes overhauling the media landscape in Australia and globally,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
“While these technological changes have brought many benefits for consumers, this inquiry will have a particular focus on examining whether the changes affect the quality and range of news supplied to Australian consumers.”
“Considering the longer term impacts of digital platforms and the ability of traditional media to remain financially viable will also be key to understanding the media and advertising markets,” Mr Sims said.
“Our aim is also to understand better the digital platforms’ business models and how they operate behind the scenes, and the evolving nature of the way consumers search for and receive news in Australia. We are particularly interested in the extent to which digital platforms curate news and journalistic content.”
The ACCC is seeking submissions in response to its issues paper by 3 April 2018 and will issue a preliminary report into its findings in December 2018.
As part of this inquiry, the ACCC will use its compulsory information gathering powers to obtain information from digital platforms and media organisations that is not publicly available.
The issues paper is available at www.accc.gov.au/about-us/inquiries/digital-platforms-inquiry/issues-paper
The ACCC must provide a preliminary report to the Treasurer by 3 December 2018 and a final report by 3 June 2019. (Click here to read more)
Reasons for the inquiry
The inquiry is being driven by old media companies and that’s fine as everyone is accountable but some of the hypocrisy from the likes of Kerry Stokes needs to be looked at as well. Below is a video from the Australian Senate in March 2013 and worth a watch as Kerry Stokes argued strongly against further government regulation as it would have a negative impact on his media businesses but now he wants the government to regulate Facebook, Google and others so help his businesses.
Greens communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam speaks with Seven West Media chief Kerry Stokes about the Government’s proposed media reform in 2013.
(The people sitting beside Kerry Stokes are to his left: Bridget Fair and his son Ryan Stokes and to his right are 7 CEO, sexual predator, cokehead and fraudster Tim Worner and online stalker Bruce McWilliam)
As old media contract and new media take over market share battles will be fought as the old media try to stop their inevitable decline and to a large degree that is was the ACCC’s Digital platforms inquiry is about. It is worth keeping a close watch as it might lead to government laws or regulations that undermine our rights.
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