Traffic to news websites fell hard with Facebook's block

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 19 February 2021

Facebook’s block on news for Australian users appears to have caused a dip in the number of people visiting media websites.

The social media giant implemented a ban on posting and viewing news content for Australian users yesterday. As part of the ban, international users also can’t view or share Australian news links.

Nielsen’s Digital Content Ratings released today shows total sessions for current events and global news category fell 16% on February 18 compared to the average of the past six Thursdays.

Total time spent on the websites fell 14% compared to the average of the past six Thursdays.

On average last year across Australian tagged media publishers, 22% of their audiences consumed their content only through the Facebook app.

The move from Facebook was in response to the news media bargaining code which seeks to govern how Facebook and Google pay news publishers which appear on their platforms.

Publishers have expressed their disappointment in the ban from Facebook but say negotiations with the social media platform to reach a payment deal are continuing.

Legislation for the news media bargaining code is expected to be passed by the end of next week.

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