At 5:46am I received an email from Facebook News Partnerships declaring news sharing will now be restricted in Australia.
As an independent publisher distributing free news journalism since 2012, this stings.
As an advocate for diverse voices, for democracy, and for a strong and robust media sector in Australia that enables minor players to distribute their content alongside the giants, I’m not sure what this means for the future.
We are urging the Federal Government and Facebook to work together on finding a solution that works for all Australians, as quickly as possible.
And we have a request to readers: if you do value what we do, then please consider sharing this link with others who might be interested in receiving our free daily news update, direct to their inbox.
Women’s Agenda is 100 percent independent, female funded and owned; a partnership between Tarla Lambert and Angela Priestley with a small and talented team behind our mission every day.
We are read by close to half a million Australian women each month. Our site is valued and respected by our readership and we’ve seamlessly maintained this brand loyalty for 8 years.
Unfortunately, this move by Facebook looks set to hurt smaller publications like ours the most, with consequences that will impact the overall diversity of Australia’s media sector, and therefore how we can access important news information, particularly on issues that are less regularly heard in the mainstream media.
On Women’s Agenda, we are primarily in the business of daily news content — particularly news content that doesn’t always get a lot of airtime in bigger publications.
While we have an excellent newsletter database and connection with readers through a Daily Update, much of our content does get shared through Facebook. Indeed, Facebook traffic accounts for a good chunk of our audience and is vital in seeing our daily news journalism going beyond our core readership.
This is particularly true of some of the journalism we’ve published around domestic violence, sexual harassment, and how women have been impacted by COVID-19, climate change and major policy announcements. This is public interest journalism at a time when it’s never been more important.
And it’s true of the women we’ve celebrated and sought to raise the profiles of, as well as the diverse voices and opinions we’ve published over the years. We’ve provided a much-needed voice across the Australian media landscape to get more women heard on the issues that are actually impacting women.
Unfortunately, it also seems like Facebook has restricted pages that go beyond “news and media” and into essential public health messaging. We are alarmed and disturbed to see that access to updated information from pages that promote charities and carry essential health and weather warnings also seem to have been caught up the crossfire.
Again, we are urging the Federal Government and Facebook to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.
What can you do?
If you value Women’s Agenda, if you want to support independent media in Australia and the diverse voices we publish, then please subscribe to our free newsletter.
Please consider also subscribing to other independent newsletters in the areas you support and follow: it makes a huge difference and puts just a little bit more power into the hands of these smaller players.
In the meantime, we’ll do our bit.
We’ll keep publishing important news journalism. We’ll be sharing these stories on Twitter and on LinkedIn, on Instagram (where possible) and of course every day in our daily news update.
We have extremely high FB engagement, which we’re going to miss — and we hope we can again connect with.
But we’re going to do as much as we can to continue to increase our direct readers and newsletter audience, something we’ve always celebrated and valued above everything else over the years.
Indeed, the value we’ve placed on our newsletter is why we’ve published the ‘Daily Update’ every weekday since 2012, and expanded into industry specific newsletters over the past year.
But really, this isn’t about any one title like Women’s Agenda. This is about media diversity. This is about the numerous examples of publications out there that are just like ours — all with differing levels of reliance on platforms like Facebook. Support independent media in whatever way you can.