Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Facebook lifts media bans in Australia


Facebook and Australia have settled their bitter dispute over a new media law and have declared friendship again. The world’s largest Internet network wants to lift its blockade of news portals after the announcement of changes to the planned media law in Australia in the coming days, it said on Tuesday.

The government has offered adjustments to the legal text, said Australia’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Josh Frydenberg after intensive negotiations with Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg. So far, government officials have always declared that they will no longer make any changes to the reform, which has been sharply criticized by the US tech giants Facebook and Google and is being followed with great attention worldwide. The reform, which is about to be adopted, will force online platforms to share the advertising revenue they generate with news content with media companies.

The dispute escalated last week when Facebook blocked all media links as well as several official and disaster sites. This caused criticism around the world and several countries announced that they would take steps following the example of Australia. This included Canada as well as Great Britain. For years, governments around the world have been looking for ways to curb the influence of US tech companies on the flow of messages.

“Facebook has ‘refriended’ Australia,” Frydenberg told journalists in Canberra, referring to the Facebook friend requests. To this end, the government made a total of four adjustments to the draft. It is also planned that the tech companies will first sit down with the media houses to reach agreements on payments. One of the new things is that they have two months for the talks. If there is no deal, a government-appointed mediator decides.

“We are delighted to have reached an agreement with the Australian government and we appreciate the constructive discussions,” said Facebook Australia chief Will Easton. One is “satisfied” with the changes. The new text recognizes the value that the platform represents for media houses compared to the value that Facebook gains from it. So you now have control over which media links would be displayed. The exact changes now have to be worked out before the media law can be passed by parliament – which could happen this week. A spokesman for Australian publisher Nine Entertainment welcomed the compromise that was bringing Facebook back to the negotiating table with Australian media houses.

For years, Facebook and Google had jointly opposed the planned media law. Only recently, the world’s largest search engine company took a different direction and negotiated preliminary contracts for its News Showcase platform with various media companies. Also with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. In October, Google announced that it would pay publishers worldwide more than one billion dollars (824.20 million euros) for journalistic content over the next three years. According to Frydenberg, Google welcomes the announced changes to the media law.



#Facebook #lifts #media #bans #Australia

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