The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has slammed a decision by the social media giant Facebook which saw some community organisations around the country unable to post and share information with vulnerable clients and service users.
According to A/g Chief Executive Officer Craig Wallace: “We are very concerned by reports that we’ve been hearing across the day that community organisations around Australia are experiencing problems posting and sharing information using the Facebook platform.
“Here in the ACT, we have become aware that a number of pages which provide essential information on legal advice, disability advocacy and tenancy support to people at risk of homelessness have had their posts removed. Information posted to these pages can be vital to the safety of people experiencing disadvantage and people on low incomes.
“The arbitrary removal of essential information needed to keep people safe and supported in the middle of a pandemic without notice is completely outrageous. We call on Facebook to immediately restore these pages and our sector’s ability to communicate important information.
“These platforms may be private companies, but they receive income from our use and exercise enormous power – and with that comes responsibility and community obligations. Where is the stewardship here?
“The reality is that social media has become the way that many vulnerable, low-income and isolated people find critical information. We support free press and believe journalists should be properly paid for their important work – the current set of issues between companies and government should be resolved in a way that does not impair vital community services.
“We have communicated our concerns to government and are connecting with national advocacy on this issue. While we understand efforts are now being made to resolve the restrictions on community groups, we urge services to tell ACTCOSS if they continue to have difficulty offering essential information to people they serve so that we can continue advocating on this matter,” Mr Wallace concluded.
For more information or comment, please contact
Craig Wallace, A/g CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0477 200 755 or 02 6202 7200.