The Prime Minister has slammed Facebook for including essential health and emergency services in the blanketed ban on Australians accessing and sharing news, declaring the social media giant’s response “as arrogant”.

In a lengthy post published on the same social media platform he was scolding, Scott Morrison said a number of countries were concerned about the behaviour of BigTech companies.

“I am in regular contact with the leaders of other nations on these issues,” he wrote in the post.

“These actions will only confirm the concerns that an increasing number of countries are expressing about the behaviour of BigTech companies who think they are bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them.”

Mr Morrison said his government wouldn’t waver following the social media giant’s aggressive response as parliament votes on the new media bargaining code.

“Just as we weren’t intimidated when Amazon threatened to leave the country and when Australia drew other nations together to combat the publishing of terrorist content on social media platforms,” he wrote in the post.

As well as the ban on major news organisations, Australians were also prevented from accessing public safety pages, including state and territory health information, and the Bureau of Meteorology.

Health Minister Greg Hunt lashed Facebook as a “disgrace” for blocking dementia information sites and the Kids Cancer Project.

“We are profoundly shocked that they would take action that would affect health and appropriately related sites,” he said on Thursday.

“The fact that the Kids Cancer Project could be affected is frankly a disgrace. Facebook should fix it and they should address that immediately.”

The government has pushed ahead with its plan to force tech giants to pay news outlets for content accessed via their platforms.

Facebook said the code did not provide clear guidance on what constituted news, but would work to ensure government pages were made available.

The social media giant has been lashed for being too lax in cracking down on COVID-19 disinformation, a fear exacerbated by its decision to restrict reputable news outlets.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Facebook’s decision to suspend access to pages “completely unrelated to the code” showed tech giants were out of control.

“What today’s events do confirm for all Australians is the immense market power of these digital media giants. These digital giants loom very, very large in our economy and on the digital landscape,” he said.

It comes despite a sign from Facebook the measure may not last.

In a statement the tech giant on Wednesday said it was restricting news with “a heavy heart”.

But in the last line of the statement, there is also a glimmer of hope it could change its mind.

“We hope that in the future the Australian government will recognise the value we already provide and work with us to strengthen, rather than limit, our partnerships with publishers,” it wrote.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who has been leading the government’s efforts to make tech giants pay for news content, has revealed he had a “constructive discussion” with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday morning.

“He raised a few remaining issues with the government’s news media bargaining code and we agreed to continue our conversation to try to find a pathway forward,” Mr Frydenberg wrote on Twitter.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher told ABC Breakfast that Facebook’s move was an indicator of the impact of the bill.

“We will be proceeding with the code,” Mr Fletcher said.

“We want Google and Facebook to stay in Australia, but we have been very clear that if you do business in Australia, you need to comply with the laws passed by the elected parliament of this nation.”

Mr Fletcher said the government was continuing to speak with Facebook but warned the platform needed to think about what the ban meant for its “reputation and standing”.

“They’re effectively saying, on our platform, there will not be any information from organisations which employ paid journalists which have fact-checking processes, editorial policies.

“They’re effectively saying any information that is available on our site does not come from these reliable sources.”

Mr Fletcher said a diverse, well-resourced media sector was an important part of Australia’s democratic process.

Opposition communications spokeswoman, Michelle Rowland, said the government needed to explain what was going on and what the impact would be.

“Not only that, what it intends to do about it,” Ms Rowland said.

“We need a workable code.”

But crossbench senator Jacqui Lambie has urged the government to go back to the negotiating table.

“If I was the Minister and the Treasurer I would be going back to the table fairly quickly because that’s really going to hurt Australian journalists out there,” she told Sky News.

“If that means we have to give a little bit and bow a little bit, then maybe it might be worth it for the pain we’re going to pay.”

Senator Lambie warned it was “very concerning” that conspiracy theories could reign on the platform without reliable news.

Nationals senator Matt Canavan accused Facebook of trying to “bully and threaten” the Australian parliament.

“Facebook is trying to make an example of us,” he told Sky News.

“I don’t think we should buckle.”

Greens media spokeswoman, Sarah Hanson-Young, told Facebook to grow up.

“Facebook constantly makes excuses for why it allows fake news to be spread on their platform yet overnight has blocked real news,” she said.

“Australia’s democracy isn’t a college dorm room, and playing with public interest journalism isn’t a game.”

Google had also threatened to remove its search engine from Australia in retaliation but has now signed deals with the major news outlets.

News Corp on Thursday announced it had signed a global licensing deal with Google to make “significant payments” for displaying its content across the world on its Google News Showcase.

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