CNN Censors an Entire Continent: Restricts Australians from Accessing Facebook Pages

CNN President Jeffrey Adam "Jeff" Zucker gives a press conference on the first day of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) on February 26, 2018 in Barcelona. The Mobile World Congress, the world's biggest mobile fair, is held in Barcelona from February 26 to March 1. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS …
LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images

Following a recent Australian court ruling making new organizations legally liable for comments on their Facebook posts, CNN has restricted all Australians from accessing its Facebook page, in effect censoring not only a country but an entire continent.

The Wall Street Journal reports that CNN has restricted access to its Facebook pages in Australia following a recent Australian high court ruling that makes news organizations liable for comments made on their Facebook posts. Users in Australia can no longer access CNN’s primary Facebook page, International page, and pages for its shows.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies via video conference, before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law hearing on “Online Platforms and Market Power” in the Rayburn House office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on July 29, 2020. (Photo by Graeme JENNINGS / POOL / AFP)

Damage is seen to the CNN logo following an overnight demonstration over the Minneapolis death of George Floyd while in police custody on May 30, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Demonstrations are being held across the U.S. after George Floyd died in police custody on May 25th in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

Damage is seen to the CNN logo following an overnight demonstration over the Minneapolis death of George Floyd while in police custody on May 30, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Demonstrations are being held across the U.S. after George Floyd died in police custody on May 25th in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

Following a ruling from the High Court of Australia making news organizations liable for comments on their Facebook pages, CNN appears to be one of the first major U.S. media companies to restrict access to its Facebook pages in the country. According to the High Court of Australia, media companies encourage and facilitate comments from users by creating public Facebook pages and posting news content that encourages debate.

As a result, the court ruled that media companies are then responsible for defamatory content that appears on posts on their Facebook pages as it considers the organization’s publishers of the comments. CNN reportedly asked Facebook whether it could help news organizations to disable comments on all of their pages in Australia following the ruling.

Facebook declined to disable all comments on CNN’s pages but did offer to help CNN disable comments on posts one by one. CNN decided that managing comments on posts from its accounts was not time-efficient and decided instead to restrict access to its pages in the country.

“We are disappointed that Facebook, once again, has failed to ensure its platform is a place for credible journalism and productive dialogue around current events among its users,” a CNN spokeswoman said. Facebook responded that it supported Australia’s defamation laws and that it provided CNN with tools to moderate its comments.

“We continue to provide Australians a destination for quality journalism, including through Facebook News which we launched in August,” Facebook said. According to data from the analytics firm Comscore, less than two million of CNN’s 166 million unique users recorded globally in August originated in Australia.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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