Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Australia and Facebook reached a compromise


Φωτ.AAP Image/Lukas Coch/via REUTERS

Facebook has announced that it will lift the blocking of news content in Australia in the coming days.

The decision was made after the government agreed to amend it the draft law which aims to force technology giants to pay the media for reproducing their content.

Australian Treasury Secretary Josh Freidenberg and Facebook Australia CEO Will Easton have said they have reached a compromise on one of the key points in the bill, which is strongly opposed by US giants.

“Thanks to these changes, we can now work to continue our investment in public interest journalism and restore Facebook information to Australians in the coming days,” Easton said.

This compromise means that Facebook and Google – which were particularly targeted by this Australian Government bill – will not be penalized if they enter into media agreements in exchange for the use of their content.

The chronicle of the controversy

It is reminded that last Wednesday afternoon, any news coming from Australia disappeared from Facebook and the content of the Australian media was not visible to users of the platform from anywhere in the world.

The embargo on Australian media was the response of the social networking giant in the law passed the government of Conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison, which obliges Facebook and Google to compensate the country’s publishing houses for the news they post.

Also, many official Facebook pages of support services were inadvertently affected.

This retaliatory measure had caused outrage in Australia as well as in many countries.

THE Google reacted very differently, hastening to conclude agreements with the Australian media to compensate for the content they provide to it, before the law enters into force. Most important of all, Google’s deal with Rupert Murdoch’s publishing giant News Corp., which has been fighting for years for search engines to compensate content providers such as its channel, the Australian and British SkyNews, or newspapers that publishes around the world, such as the Wall Street Journal and the Times of London.

Representative of News Corp thanked personally the Australian Prime Minister, the head of the Australian Competition Authority and the finance minister for the passage of the law.

For months, the two companies have been trying to prevent the law from being passed estimates reported that Facebook’s “blackout” in the Australian news is not final but is a phase of tough negotiation. (Of course, there were also casualties, as links to humanitarian organizations, pandemic information, first aid services and even the meteorological service were blocked along with the news pages.)

Morrison described Facebook’s stance as “influential and frustrating”, and Australian media were filled with contemptuous comments about the company.



#Australia #Facebook #reached #compromise

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