Australians are now finding new ways to connect and be updated on the latest news after Facebook banned users in the country from seeing or sharing news-related posts.
Two men from Perth just launched a new social media app that they hope would replace both Facebook and Instagram.
The app — called Litt — is set to become available nationwide. The app's founders, Brent Thompson and Peter Salom, said that it was the perfect time to roll out their app as Facebook's latest action will likely be the final straw for many Australian users.
"Australians will not take kindly to being bullied by a big American tech company, especially a company that does little to support the local economy," Thompson said.
Thompson said that Australian companies spent more than $674 million to advertise on Facebook in 2019 but the social media company only paid $17 million in taxes that year.
Facebook banned people in Australia from seeing or sharing news items on their feeds as a response to the government proposal to pass a law that would force them to pay local news and media outlets for their content. The ban took effect on Thursday.
Millions of Australians woke to empty Facebook news feeds, which then led to a mass exodus of users from the platform. The move immediately resulted in a flood of criticism by news outlets, politicians, and human rights activists.
Apart from news items, Facebook also removed official health pages, welfare networks, and emergency safety warnings for all Australian users.
Unlike Facebook, Litt was designed by its creators to give back to the community and to allow advertisers to get more from their advertising dollars. The app, which was a built-in e-commerce feature, allows users to collect credits or earn money by watching advertisements.
Users can then use those credits to spend on the advertisers' online stores. Thompson said that the app was programmed to give around 40% of the newsfeed advertising earnings back to users.
"We want people to be rewarded for their attention and to share advertising revenue back into community, so people can use that money on local business like the small mum and dad shop down the road," Thompson said.