Booktopia Facebook page erased in Australian news dispute

Booktopia Facebook page erased in Australian news dispute

Australia's largest online book retailer Booktopia has had its Facebook page's contents erased following a row between the country's government and the social media giant.

Facebook has blocked news feeds in the country in retaliation to a proposed law that would make it pay for news content on its platforms.

This morning (Thursday 18th February), Australian users found local and global news pages were no longer available while some government pages were also blocked in what Facebook later said was a mistake.

Booktopia's page has been running since 2009 and has amassed nearly 130,000 followers. However, on Thursday morning, no posts on the page were visible.

Steffen Daleng, the firm's chief marketing officer, posted on LinkedIn: “Booktopia's Facebook page is stripped of content out of nowhere. Are we a collateral victim of Facebook's News ban?”

A spokesperson for the retail site said: “We use Facebook to support local writers and bring their stories to Australian audiences. Through Covid-19 and lockdowns, this role became even more important as opportunities for Australian authors to meet their audiences and promote their stories were drastically reduced. Of course, we also use Facebook as an advertising channel and it is important to us in that manner, as it is for every retailer. On behalf of the Australian bookselling and publishing industry, we're asking Facebook to recognise that their action has had severe implications for communities that they haven't considered, and to reinstate page content as swiftly as possible.” 

The Bookseller has approached Facebook for a comment.