Facebook's threat yesterday to stop Australians sharing news content on its platforms if the government forced big companies to pay local media outlets could leave us less well-informed and allow misinformation to flourish, experts have warned.
That shakedown leaves a lot of questions unanswered. We still don't know what kind of content will qualify as news. And, most worryingly, we don't know what social media platforms already rife with fake news, disinformation and conspiracy theories will look like when the legitimate stuff is gone.
A newsfeed without news
There's a good chance that if Facebook carries through with its threat, most Australians won't notice a huge change to their newsfeed in the short term at least. How much actual news a person might see on their feed tends to be influenced by a bunch of variables: what pages they like, what their friends engage with, even the time of day they're scrolling.