Facebook has reversed its decision to block news from Australian publications after the country’s government agreed to make amendments to its proposed bill that would force tech giants to pay for linking to news content.
Facebook blocked news sites on its platform Down Under last week in response to the proposed legislation, the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, and in the process mistakenly also banned government and emergency services, along with charity organisations and other community pages.
The action by Facebook was the result of a prolonged spat between the social media company and the Australian government, with the latter insisting it wouldn’t budge and pulling advertising from Facebook’s platform in the wake of the news ban.
Let’s make a deal
The Australian government appears to have softened its stance against Facebook, albeit not all that much.
The Guardian reports that the country’s treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, and communications minister Paul Fletcher have announced that the government has reached a compromise with Facebook as the New Media Code was being debated in the Senate.
The amendments effectively mean that the proposed law will not apply to Facebook as long as it can show it has signed enough deals with media outlets to pay them for content. On top of that, Facebook and any other company the code would apply to have a month’s notice to comply with the new regulations.
Facebook, for its part, says that links to Australian news publications will be restored in the next few days.
“We’re pleased that we’ve been able to reach an agreement with the Australian government and appreciate the constructive discussions we’ve had with treasurer Frydenberg and minister Fletcher over the past week,” Facebook’s Australian managing director Will Easton said in a blog post.
“After further discussions, we are satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognise the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them,” he added.
Source: [The Guardian]