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Discussed Facebook news ban with PM Modi, says Australian PM Morrison

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SYDNEY: Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg spoke to the Australian government on Friday over a law that would require the social media giant to pay for content, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison insisting the country will not would not bow to the “threats” of big technology.
As of Thursday, Australians could no longer post links to news articles or check out the Facebook pages of Australian outlets, which were also unable to share their content.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he spoke with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Friday and that negotiations will continue over the weekend.

“We discussed their remaining issues and agreed that our respective teams would deal with them immediately,” Frydenberg said on Twitter.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison told media in Sydney that the Facebook ban was a “threat”.
“I thought it wasn’t a good decision on their part, and they should move on quickly, get back to the table,” he said.
The ban comes in response to a planned Australian law that would force digital giants Facebook and Google to pay major Australian outlets to have snippets or links to their content on the platforms.
Morrison said the legislation – which was due to be debated by the Australian Senate on Monday as the next step towards passage – was attracting interest from other world leaders.
The law was raised during an appeal Thursday with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said.
“It’s getting a lot of interest,” he told the media. “People are watching what Australia is doing.”

Facebook defended its response, saying the bill was unworkable and insisting it was forced to introduce a blackout.
Since the ban took effect, experts report that visitors to Australian news sites have fallen both at home and abroad, with overseas traffic falling by more than 20% per day, according to data analysis company Chartbeat.
The data also suggests that users are yet to leave Facebook in response to the ban, but no apparent increase in Google search traffic has been recorded.
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 pull its research from Australia on 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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