The Australian government and Facebook have reached an agreement over news content, and the tech giant will restore Australia’s news pages.
This follows negotiations at the weekend between the government and Facebook over the government’s proposed media code.
Last week, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison committed to applying laws to Facebook that would force the social media giant to pay publishers for their media content.
In response, Facebook blocked all domestic and foreign news outlets for Australia and removed state government and emergency department accounts.
An agreement was struck that amendments will be made to the proposed media law whereby the government will give digital platforms and news publishers two months to negotiate a commercial deal before subjecting them to arbitration.
Additional changes allow Facebook to choose whether news appears on its platform so that it is not automatically subject to a forced negotiation.
“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,” Campbell Brown, Facebook vice-president for global news partnerships, said in a statement.
“It’s always been our intention to support journalism in Australia and around the world, and we’ll continue to invest in news globally and resist efforts by media conglomerates to advance regulatory frameworks that do not take account of the true value exchange between publishers and platforms like Facebook,” he said.
The agreement followed a series of discussions between Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, which includes Facebook’s contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry through existing deals also to be taken into account.
Frydenberg confirmed that Facebook had committed to entering into “good faith” negotiations with Australian news media businesses in seeking to reach agreements to pay for content.