Deep concern over Facebook developments

Updated: Feb 24, 2021

The board of the newly formed Independent Media Association (IMA) is deeply concerned by Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg’s statement that he intends to further “reduce the amount of political content” in Facebook’s feed.

This comes only days after Facebook launched its new news section in the UK, involving million-pound deals with the majority of corporate media outlets. It remains unclear to what extent, if any, independent news providers will be included in the news section.

The recent move by Facebook to ban news from Australian media outlets can also be seen as a shot across the bow to the rest of the world in the regulation battle.

Facebook remains the most used source of news after broadcast media and boasts 44.84 million users in the UK. As such, moves to hide political news or further marginalise independent news providers will have a chilling effect on democracy.

Therefore, it is necessary for independent media in the UK and beyond to end our reliance on corporate platforms. We welcome moves to fund and develop decentralised methods to distribute online news.

The IMA will also be closely monitoring proposals in the forthcoming Online Harms Bill. Any attempts by the government to outlaw progressive news outlets under trumped-up charges of ‘extremism’ must also be exposed and resisted if we are to preserve freedom of speech.

The chair on behalf of members of the IMA: Thomas Barlow

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