Australia and Facebook held high-stakes talks on Friday after the social media giant sparked global outrage by hiding information for its Australian users, with Canberra insisting it would not give up a new law that would force the tech company to pay for journalistic content. .
Since Thursday, Facebook has hidden media pages from Australian users and barred them from sharing news content, rather than submitting to the proposed legislation.
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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he spoke with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Friday to find a way out of the showdown, and that negotiations would continue over the weekend.
“We discussed their remaining issues and agreed that our respective teams will address them immediately,” said Frydenberg.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also urged Facebook to “get over quickly” what he called threatening behavior and “get back to the table.”
He said his government’s first global legislation to force Facebook and Google to pay Australian media outlets for news content posted on their platforms was attracting interest from leaders around the world.
“People are watching what Australia is doing,” he said, noting that he had previously discussed the situation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Canadian Justin Trudeau.
The legislation, called the Compulsory Trading Code for News Media and Digital Platforms, was approved this week by the lower house of parliament and will be debated from Monday by the Senate, which is expected to pass the law by here. the end of the week.
Facebook defended its dramatic response to the law, saying the legislation “fundamentally disregards” the platform’s relationship with media organizations and that it has no choice but to ban news content from its services in Australia.
Since the ban went into effect, visits to Australian news sites by domestic and foreign users have dropped significantly, with overseas traffic dropping by more than 20% per day, according to the company. Chartbeat data analysis.
The data also suggests that users are yet to leave Facebook in response to the ban, with no apparent increase in Google search traffic recorded.
News Corp Australia executive chairman Michael Miller in a separate Senate inquiry in Canberra said the impact of Facebook’s decision was yet to be felt by publishers.
Yesterday, the platform’s referral traffic was gone, he said, while “direct traffic to our websites increased to double digits.”
Miller also encouraged the social media giant to resume direct negotiations with the media.
“The door is always open to Facebook.”
Facebook’s sweeping ban has drawn widespread criticism for inadvertently blocking access to several critical government pages, including emergency services, health services, and the National Weather Service – with most being restored within hours which followed its entry into force.
Despite previous threats to withdraw its services from Australia because of the legislation, Google relaxed its stance and instead negotiated several deals with major media companies, including News Corp. by Rupert Murdoch.
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