Facebook to restore Australia news pages, says government

Ruben Hill
Февраля 26, 2021

While Google ultimately chose to preemptively negotiate deals with major Australian publishers, Facebook blocked all news content for its Australian users and all content from Australian news publishers for users worldwide on February 17.

Some politicians and media companies are concerned the change allows Frydenberg to exempt Facebook or Google from the new laws even if they do not strike deals with all media companies, to the detriment of smaller publishers.

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg had told him the ban would end "in the coming days", after the pair had talks.

After the Australian government announced that they would require the social media companies to pay for the local news content, Facebook declared that it will now restore the news in the country in the upcoming days.

Several large Australian news companies including News Corp Australia have independently struck content deals with Google to be included in the tech giant's News Showcase platform.

The changes will serve to clarify how the bargaining code will be implemented and "add further impetus for parties to engage in commercial negotiations" to avoid triggering application of the code, the government said.

The amendments to the law include that final arbitration, a process by which if a deal could not be reached, an independent mediator will pick a proposed deal to make it binding under the law, will be considered a "last resort".

"There is no reason Facebook can't do and achieve what Google already has, "Birmingham added".

Facebook has removed a ban that prevented Australians from reading or sharing news stories on the social media service.

Facebook said it was satisfied with the revisions, which will need to be implemented in legislation now before the parliament.

You probably saw the news that Google has agreed to pay news publishers in Australia rather than just steal their content as they had in the past.

This fight was not "Facebook v. Australia".

Facebook has also restarted negotiations with another major Australian media company, Nine Entertainment. We may not like Facebook in the role of the defender of the open web (and it's far from the best representative for the open web).

The government's move was meant to compel internet companies to pay news organisations, but Facebook had argued it "fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it".

Given the social responsibility companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter have, due to the fact that they're now the world's primary hubs for communication and news consumption, their decision to deny users the right to news in Australia feels nothing short of shameful.

"It's always been our intention to support journalism in Australia and around the world", she said.

The freeze comes as Australia begins to promote its newly launched Covid-19 vaccination rollout with a almost US$20 million public information blitz aimed at boosting uptake and countering a flood of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories. Google says it now has deals with more than 50 Australian titles and more than 500 publishers worldwide.

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