Facebook To Restore Australia News Pages After Deal On Media Law

Facebook announced on Tuesday that it would lift the controversial ban on Australian news pages after the government agreed to amend the world’s first law requiring tech giants to pay media companies.

Treasury Secretary Josh Frydenberg and Facebook said they had reached a compromise on an important aspect of the law, but tech companies strongly opposed it.

“As a result of these changes, we are able to drive investment in public interest journalism and restore Facebook news for Australians in the coming days,” said Will Easton, managing director of Facebook Australia. I will.

Last week, a social media company blacked out news for Australian users by inadvertently blocking a series of non-news Facebook pages linked to everything from cancer charities to emergency response services worldwide. Caused anger.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has angryly accused Facebook of making a decision to “remove Australia from friends.”

But last-minute compromises will be punished as long as Facebook and Google, also targeted, reach a deal with a local media company to pay for the news, as Congress appears to pass the bill this week. Means not.

They also get another two months to mediate those contracts.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the Australian Government and thank you for the constructive discussions,” Easton said.

From the beginning, tech companies were fiercely opposed to the bill, fearing it would set an international precedent that threatened business models.

“There is no doubt that Australia was a global proxy battle,” Frydenberg said.

Facebook says it will lift the ban on Australian news
AFP / Josh Edelson

In particular, the two companies opposed rules that required negotiations with media companies and gave Australian independent arbitrators the right to settle.

Google wanted to avoid setting a precedent that the platform should pay for links to everyone.

Facebook, which is much less dependent on news content, said that being forced to pay for news was simply not worth it.

Campbell Brown, Facebook’s Vice President of Global News Partnerships, said:

Despite previous threats to withdraw services from Australia over the law, Google has already softened its stance with many local media companies and hundreds, including Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and Nine Entertainment. He was mediating a transaction worth 10,000 dollars.

Facebook and Google are still faced with the prospect of having to agree to deal with media around the world as the European Union, Canada and other jurisdictions are working to regulate this sector.

Since its introduction at the turn of the century, Google and Facebook have grown into two of the world’s largest and most profitable companies, with little regulation.

However, a series of scandals about false information, privacy breaches, data harvesting, and virtual monopoly of online advertising has caught the attention of Watchdog.

For every $ 100 spent today by Australian advertisers, $ 49 will be sent to Google and $ 24 to Facebook, according to the Australian Competitive Watchdog.

Law critics have said it is punishing successful businesses, and will grab money through the struggling but politically connected traditional media.

They also lament that there is no legal requirement that money earned by media companies from Facebook and Google be used to expand public journalism, not just to increase profits.

Thousands of journalism jobs and numerous media outlets have been lost in Australia alone in the last decade as the sector monitored the flow of advertising revenue to digital players.

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