CANBERRA, Australia (AP) Facebook said on Tuesday it would lift its ban on Australians sharing news after it reached an agreement with the Australian government on legislation that would make digital giants pay for journalism.
Treasury Josh Frydenberg and Facebook confirmed that they have agreed on changes to the proposed legislation to require the social network and Google to pay for the Australian news they display.
The Facebook collaboration is a major victory in Australian efforts to make both Internet accesses pay for the journalism they use.
Facebook blocked Australian users from accessing and exchanging news last week after the House of Representatives passed the bill late Wednesday.
Initially, the Facebook news blockade cut off access, at least temporarily, to the government pandemic, public health and emergency services, causing public outrage.
The Senate will debate the amended legislation Tuesday.
Frydenberg described the agreed changes as clarifications of the government’s intentions. 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 made no secret of the fact that they know the eyes of the world are on Australia and that is why they have sought to obtain a code here that is enforceable, he added, referring to the country’s Code legislation. of Media News.
The code would undermine the dominance of Facebook and Google in their negotiations with Australian news providers by requiring a negotiated security network in the form of an arbitration panel. Digital giants will not be able to abuse their overwhelming negotiating positions by making pay-as-you-go offers or licensing it to news businesses for their journalism. In the event of a blockage, the panel would make a binding decision on a winning bid.
Swinburne University senior lecturer in the media Belinda Barnet said the proposed changes guarantee Facebook time to reach agreement before the arbitration panel decides on a price for the news.
Peter Lewis, director of the Australian Center for the Institute of Responsible Technology, a research institution, said in a statement that “the changes keep the integrity of the media code intact.
Google had also threatened to remove its search functions from Australia because it said the proposed law was unenforceable. But that threat has faded.
Google has listed Australia’s largest media companies in content licensing agreements 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 pleased that the Australian Government has agreed to a number of changes and warranties that address our core concerns about allowing trade agreements that recognize the value our platform provides to publishers compared to the value we receive from them, said the regional director of Facebook William Easton.
As a result of these changes, we can now work to further our investment in public-interest journalism and restore Facebook news to Australians in the coming days, Easton added.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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