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Facebook reacted dramatically to the proposal last week, blocking Australian news content from being seen on its site, anywhere in the world — and also preventing Facebook users in that country from seeing any news content. In one day, there was a reported 93 percent drop in page views sent from Facebook to Australian publishers. Google, in contrast — after threatening to pull its search engine from the country — struck deals to pay for content from several major companies, including signing a three-year contract with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

The stakes are significant. The rise of the tech platforms has contributed to the implosion of many newsgathering publications. For one thing, advertisers can bypass newspapers and magazines and reach more people by buying online ads. Publishers do get a cut of the revenue from the ads that appear alongside news articles that circulate online, but the tech companies set the terms. Google and Facebook are sensitive to the charge that they are killing off mainstream news entities — while helping users spread conspiracy theories and misinformation — so they have been striving to buy good will through giving grants to journalism organizations,

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The COVID-19 vaccine rollout was never going to be easy in Australia’s sparsely populated, desert-covered Northern Territory. With many small towns located hours apart by road, organizers even considered using drones and dry ice to make deliveries.

But the vaccination campaign is facing an even greater uphill battle after Facebook removed news content across the country of 25 million on Feb. 18 following a battle over a bill that would force Big Tech companies to pay for the use of news stories. The ban also swept up Indigenous media organizations, meaning that Aboriginal people, who make up more than 25% of the region’s population may not have access to reliable information about vaccinations.

Kentucky State Police Changes 'color' And 'gender' Facebook Cover Photo After Criticism

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky State Police Facebook page got a new cover photo Tuesday, and it didn't exactly win over everyone on social media.

The cover shot featured a helicopter with two blocks of text on either side: "OUR COLOR IS GRAY" and "OUR GENDER IS TROOPER."

Beneath the text were 11 troopers and Kentucky State Police personnel (as well as a K-9) standing in front of several KSP vehicles, with at least one woman and two Black members of the agency appearing to be in the photo, which includes no caption.

By late Wednesday morning, the cover photo had been changed back to a previous 2017 photo of three troopers.

This isn't the first time KSP has used the "Our Color is Gray" and "Our Gender is Trooper" motto on social media, with the agency featuring it in various tweets over the years to promote recruitment and diversity efforts.

Sgt. Billy Gregory, a Kentucky State Police spokesman, told The Courier Journal in an email that over the past 25 years, the agency "has used the phrase to demonstrate that the agency is committed to racial and gender inclusivity."

"Prior to today, we were unaware of any concerns raised about the phrase," Gregory said Wednesday. "Given that KSP is committed to providing professional services to everyone in the commonwealth and is actively pursuing a diverse workforce, we look forward to discussing and learning more about the concerns raised today."

Some commenters used the cover photo as an opportunity to thank state troopers for their service, urging them to "stay safe!"

But among the over 5,600 comments and nearly 4,000 shares the new cover photo had received as of Wednesday morning, before it was replaced, were plenty of critics who called the image tone-deaf.

More: Gov. Beshear names Col. Phillip Burnett Jr. As Kentucky State Police commissioner

"What is this tone deaf nonsense? Because all this campaign tells me is that KSP finds using play on words at the expense of POC and trans (folks) acceptable," one person commented on the KSP photo. "It sure doesn’t make me feel like they’re out to protect those populations in our state."

"As a trans woman I am so glad I don’t live in Kentucky," another commenter said. "This is so freaking cringe it’s not even funny. KSP y’all need to reevaluate this."

Others criticized the agency for not learning from previous controversies, such as last year's revelation of Kentucky State Police previously using training materials that quoted Adolph Hitler and urged cadets to act as a "ruthless killer."

The training material controversy led to Rodney Brewer resigning as state police commissioner last November, and Gov. Andy Beshear has since appointed Col. Phillip "PJ" Burnett Jr. To lead the law enforcement agency.

This story has been updated.

Reach Billy Kobin at bkobin@courierjournal.Com.

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