Facebook Restores News Content To Its Platform In Australia
Facebook is restoring news content to its platform in Australia after the government agreed to amend its proposed News Media Bargaining Code. In an update posted today, Facebook’s managing director of Australia and New Zealand, William Easton, said that news content will return to the platform “in the coming days,”
Easton says that the company is “satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns”.
A proposed law requiring Facebook and Google to pay publishers in Australia for the content shared on their platforms has put both companies at loggerheads with the Australian government. Facebook blocked Australian users and publishers from sharing news on its platform in response.
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Instrumental to Facebook’s return are amendments outlined in a release from the Australian government. The amendments include giving tech companies and publishers two months to reach agreements with one another. According to The New York Times, this gives Facebook more time to strike deals, similar to those reached by Google.
Another amendment notes that the government should take into account whether a tech company has already reached commercial agreements with the Australian news industry. This gives Facebook and Google more time to sign more media to their respective Facebook News and Google News Showcase products.
The law would have forced them into arbitration with news companies if they couldn’t reach a deal. They claim this arbitration process underestimates the value their services provide to news publishers. This was a huge factor in them pulling out in the first place.
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 it means Facebook can “support the publishers we choose to; including small and local publishers.”
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