Facebook to restore access to news in Australia after talks with government
Facebook vice president of global news partnership Campbell Brown announced that the social network has held talks with the Government of Australia, and it has agreed to make concessions. Access to media pages and news content will be restored within a few days.
According to Brown, the agreement reached "will support Facebook's chosen publishers, including small local media outlets."
Last week Facebook banned Australians from sharing news links on social media. The pages of many media organizations, as well as third-party companies, have been disabled. News traffic to social networks dramatically decreased.
Following talks with Facebook representatives, the Australian government said it would amend the code that obliges IT companies to pay for news traffic.
Chief Treasurer Josh Fraydenberg country said that the amendments will clarify as to how it should act and the code "will strengthen the basis for a claim of equitable remuneration from the media." They will also "provide an incentive to build commercial relationships and negotiate outside the scope of the code," he said.
The amendments will determine the degree of participation of the digital platform in the development of the Australian media industry. The reasons why the media and tech companies will be subject to the code will be more clearly spelled out. Also, the code will introduce the concept of a final offer, the refusal of which will become a reason for going to arbitration.
William Easton, managing director of Facebook for Australia and New Zealand, said the company was satisfied with the amendments.
Meanwhile, Google has already announced partnerships with some of Australia's largest media outlets, including Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and Seven West Media. As Freidenberg has already confirmed, "if there are commercial deals, it changes the equation." Earlier, the search engine also threatened to stop its work in Australia.
The only company that immediately agreed to the terms of the Australian government was Microsoft. The corporation has promised that its search engine Bing will comply with all new rules.