Daily Management Review

Facebook To Restore Australia News After Changes In New Content Laws


After agreeing with the Australian government on some changes in the proposed new content law to be brought in the country which forces tech giants to pay for media content from local news outlets, the social media giant Facebook said on Tuesday that it will restore Australian news pages that it had blackout last week.
Following the Australian government deciding to introduced legislation that sought to limit the dominance in the news content market of Facebook and Alphabet Inc's Google, there has been a standoff between the social media group and the Australian government for more than a week.
Australian users of Facebook were barred last week from sharing and viewing news content on its platform which was severely criticised by publishers and the government.
Australia and Facebook came to a concession deal after a series of negotiations between Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. It is now expected that the social media platform will allow Australian news to be displayed within a few days.
With some other countries also contemplating replicating the Australian law, this standoff in Australia has been intently followed internationally.
"Facebook has refriended Australia, and Australian news will be restored to the Facebook platform," Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday. With other regulators and countries engaging with tech companies on a range of issues around news and content, Australia’s episode with Facebook was described by Frydenberg as a "proxy battle for the world".
The proposed new laws in Australia are by far the most and are being considered to be a potential legal template for other countries and regulators, even while local media outlets in some other countries have been tussling with large tech companies about the right to news content.
"Facebook and Google have not hidden the fact that they know that the eyes of the world are on Australia, and that's why they have sought I think to get a code here that is workable," Frydenberg said.
There are four changes to the new law that have been offered by Australia which includes altering the clause of the proposed mandatory arbitration mechanism which was proposed to be used in the case of tech companies failing to strike commercial agreements with news outlets for fair payment against displaying their news on various tech platforms.
Facebook was satisfied with the proposed changes to the law, the social media company said. These new changes have to be incorporated into the new law which is currently before the parliament.
"Going forward, the government has clarified we will retain the ability to decide if news appears on Facebook so that we won't automatically be subject to a forced negotiation," Facebook Vice President of Global News Partnerships Campbell Brown said in a statement online.
While continuing to invest in news globally, she said that the company will also "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."