After several days of negotiations and escalating conflict between Australia and Facebook, the parties have agreed and the media giant is reopening for news sharing.
Facebook halted news sharing in Australia last week in response to a bill requiring Google and Facebook to pay for news content.
Six days later, Facebook has agreed to open up to Australian-produced news again after the government changed the bill at the last minute, reports Nine News and The Herald Sun, among others.
The agreement means that Australian news media will regain access to Facebook in the coming days, the Australian government and Facebook confirm in separate statements.
The law is changing
The law was passed in the lower house on Wednesday and is currently being considered by the Australian Senate. It is expected that the law will be voted on in the National Assembly’s upper chamber as early as Wednesday, writes Sydney Morning Herald.
According to the newspaper, the bill was amended Tuesday morning local time. Among other things, the changes allow for a two-month transition period to give the parties better time to agree on the way forward.
“These additions will clarify to digital platforms and news media what the purpose of the law is and how it will ensure that news media are fairly rewarded,” said Minister of Finance Josh Frydenberg in a statement.
Several internet giants have fought against the Australian bill, which is the first of its kind in the world. The fear is that it could set a global precedent that could damage their business model and force major changes.
Facebook’s response was in sharp contrast to that of Google, which in recent days has negotiated agreements with several media groups, including Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
Facebook says in a statement that the company is happy to have reached an agreement with the Australian authorities, and that it appreciates “the constructive discussions” with Minister of Finance Frydenberg “and Minister of Communications Paul Fletcher.
Vice President Campbell Brown of Facebook’s Global News Partnership said in a statement that he was “pleased that the Australian Government has agreed to several changes” and that the Government has provided guarantees “which address our main concern that commercial agreements should match the value of our platform gives publishers relative to the value we get from them ».
He adds that Facebook will open for news for Australian users in the coming days.
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