Facebook says it will lift its Australian news ban soon

PTI | Canberra | Updated: 23-02-2021 16:11 IST | Created: 23-02-2021 13:40 IST
Facebook says it will lift its Australian news ban soon
Representative Image Image Credit: pixahive.com

Facebook said on Tuesday it will lift its ban on Australians sharing news after it struck a deal with Australia's government on legislation that would make digital giants pay for journalism.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Facebook confirmed that they have agreed on amendments to proposed legislation to require the social network and Google to pay for Australian news that they feature.

Facebook's cooperation is a major victory in Australian efforts to make the two gateways to the Internet pay for the journalism that they use.

Facebook blocked Australian users from accessing and sharing news last week after the House of Representatives passed the draft law late Wednesday.

Initially, the Facebook news blockade cut access — at least temporarily — to government pandemic, public health and emergency services, sparking public outrage.

The Senate will debate amended legislation on Tuesday.

Frydenberg described the agreed-upon amendments as "clarifications" of the government's intent. He said his negotiations with Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg were "difficult." "There is no doubt that Australia has been a proxy battle for the world," Frydenberg said.

"Facebook and Google have not hidden the fact that they know that the eyes of the world are on Australia and that is why they have sought to get a code here that is workable," he added, referring to the country's News Media Bargaining Code legislation.

The code would undermine the bargaining dominance of Facebook and Google in their negotiations with Australian news providers by requiring a negotiation safety net in the form of an arbitration panel.

The digital giants would not be able to abuse their overwhelming negotiating positions by making take-it-or-leave-it payment offers to news businesses for their journalism. In case of a standoff, the panel would make a binding decision on a winning offer.

Swinburne University senior lecturer on media Belinda Barnet said the proposed amendments guarantee Facebook time to strike deals before the arbitration panel decides on a price for news.

Peter Lewis, director of the Australia Institute's Center for Responsible Technology, a think tank, said in a statement that the ''amendments keep the integrity of the media code intact." Google also had threatened to remove its search functions from Australia because it said the proposed law was unworkable. But that threat has faded.

Google has been signing up Australia's largest media companies in content licensing deals through its News Showcase model.

The platform says it has deals with more than 50 Australian titles through Showcase and more than 500 publishers globally using the model which was launched in October.

Facebook said it will now negotiate deals with Australian publishers under its own model, Facebook News.

"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 recognize the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them," Facebook regional managing director William Easton said.

"As a result of these changes, we can now work to further our investment in public interest journalism and restore news on Facebook for Australians in the coming days, " Easton added.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Why unequal access to coronavirus vaccines is a threat to us all

... ...

India’s love affair with fossil fuels: the path to sustainable development?

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Boeing, Australian air force say pilotless, fighter-like jet completed first test flight

Boeing Co and the Royal Australian Air Force RAAF said on Tuesday they had completed the first flight test on a pilotless fighter-like jet designed to operate in conjunction with crewed aircraft. The Loyal Wingman, the first military aircra...

Saudi envoy disputes crown prince role in Khashoggi killing

Saudi Arabias UN ambassador on Monday disputed the US intelligence report which concluded that the Saudi crown prince approved an operation to kill or capture dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying in a tweet Let us all move forward t...

'Free rein to rule': El Salvador's Bukele set for crushing mid-term win

El Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele was on course to win a super-majority in Congress in mid-term elections, a preliminary vote count showed on Monday, with his party and allies likely reducing once dominant rivals to a handful of legislat...

Huawei daughter back in Canada court in US extradition case

Lawyers for a senior executive for Chinese communications giant Huawei Technologies were in court Monday arguing evidence should be introduced which would undermine the case to have their client extradited to the US.Canada arrested Meng Wan...

Give Feedback