Australian news publisher figures still haven’t quite recovered from the Facebook ban

  • In the week since Facebook took news content back online, total sessions browsing current affairs and news online remain 7% lower than they were before Facebook turned off Australian news, according to Nielsen.
  • The average total time spent daily on sites in the Current Events & Global News category dropped to 65 million minutes during the ban — compared to 79 million minutes before Facebook’s Australian news ban.
  • The figures come from the data and market measurement firm’s Digital Content Rankings methodology.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Overall traffic across Australian news websites has not yet returned to former levels, over a week after Facebook restored news content to its feed on February 26.

Since news content was reinstated, the average total time spent has bounced back to 67 million, however this still represents a significant drop on pre-ban levels, according to Nielsen data.

This finding comes from the data and market measurement firm’s Digital Content Rankings methodology.

In the week since Facebook took news content back online, total sessions for the ‘Current Events & Global News’ has risen by 13%, but that remains 7% lower than prior to Facebook turning off news on its app.

Nielsen also reported that the average total time spent daily on sites in the Current Events & Global News category dropped to 65 million minutes during the ban — compared to 79 million minutes before Facebook took action.

Since news content has been reinstated, the average total time spent has risen to 67 million, still a significant drop on pre-ban levels for the news category.

The numbers speak for themselves; the Facebook news ban hurt news publishers in Australia, throwing into even sharper relief the challenging relationship between news publishers and the digital platforms.

Facebook’s news purge

On Wednesday February 17, bleary-eyed Australians awoke to feeds devoid of Australian news content (along with content from Australian information and advocacy groups, including the Bureau of Meteorology, fire departments and food banks), as Facebook blocked Australian users from seeing, sharing, and interacting with news on the site, along with the ability for Facebook users worldwide to see news shared by Australian news outlets.

On Friday 26 February, news content from outlets including the ABC, The Sydney Morning Herald, News.com.au, and Nine was restored for Facebook’s millions-strong Australian user base.