Australian Government Makes Amends with Facebook to Bring Back News to its Platform

Recently, Facebook has announced that it will be restoring the news content to its platform in Australia. The news comes after the Australian government decided to amend its proposed News Media Bargaining Code.   

In today’s post, William Easton, Facebook’s managing director of Australia and New Zealand, said that they are “satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns.”   

He added that the news content will be returning to the platform in the coming days.

In the past few months, both Facebook and Google have been in a dispute about an upcoming law with the Australian government. Under this new law, the platforms have to pay news publishers for the content which is shared on their platforms.   

Last week, however, Facebook took a drastic measure and announced that it will be blocking news from being shared on its platform by Australian users and publishers. This announcement came in response to the proposed bargaining code.  

In a release from the Australian government, the amendments include giving tech companies and publishers two months to reach agreements. In another amendment, the government notes that there should take into account whether a tech company and the Australian news industry have already reached commercial agreements.

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In a statement, Facebook’s vice president of Global News Partnerships Campbell Brown said the Australian government “has clarified we will retain the ability to decide if news appears on Facebook so that we won’t automatically be subject to a forced negotiation.”   

She also added that with the amendment Facebook can “support the publishers we choose to, including small and local publishers.”  

Josh Frydenberg, the Australian treasurer, said “Facebook has committed to entering into good-faith negotiations with Australian news media businesses and seeking to reach agreements to pay for content.”   

However, as Facebook took extreme actions in the country in response to the law, Google has been busy brokering deals with the country’s news publishers. The company is opting to pay publishers as part of its News Showcase product.  

Google is also making deals with international publishers as part of the product to cover publications around the world.