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Queensland Health responds to Facebook news ban

Facebook is under fire after wiping news content from Australian users but in the process it has shut down government information pages including health and domestic violence services.

Queensland Health Executive Director of Strategic Communications Branch Robert Hoge urged the social media giant to reverse its decision immediately. 

See their statement below:

Queensland Health is a trusted source of credible information.

Facebook isn’t the only way we reach people but it’s a significant one. We are working urgently this morning to restore public access to our content.

 We are in the process of rolling out the first phase of our COVID-19 vaccine program and social media is a key tool with which to communicate this information.

The decision to block access to our content could hinder our ability to communicate to high-risk groups.

We have really significant reach through our website, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. We encourage Queenslanders who need information to check out our website.

It is up to date with all relevant COVID-19 cases and relevant COVID-19 information.

I applaud Facebook for taking action against anti-vaxxers, Pete Evans and other peddlers of harmful views and conspiracies, however they got this one wrong. 

While our social media platforms have a better reach than many news services, and are more reliable, we are in fact not a news service. Facebook should fix this urgently.

Our website is at www.health.qld.gov.au.

We are also on Twitter (@qldhealthnews); Instagram (queenslandhealth); and LinkedIn (Queensland Health).

Queensland Health has grown its Facebook audience to more than 600,000 followers over the past five years.

The organisation says it uses social media to alert Queenslanders to emergencies ranging from COVID-19, influenza and other infectious disease outbreaks to health advice relating to bushfire smoke, heatwaves, and storms and flooding.

In January 2021 alone, Queensland Health’s content was seen 65,680,207 times, received 6,448,305 engagements and had 83,867 clicks.

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