Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Water returns to its course between Facebook and Australia after legal amendments – technology


Facebook said on Tuesday it would bring back Australian news pages after it negotiated with the government amendments to a proposed law that would require tech giants to pay for media content shown on their platforms.

Australia clashed with Facebook more than a week ago after the government introduced legislation challenging the dominance of Facebook and Google, which is owned by Alphabet, in the news content market.

And Facebook last week banned Australian users from posting and seeing news content on its popular social media platform, prompting criticism from publishers and the government.

But after a series of talks between Treasury Secretary Josh Friedenberg and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, a concession deal was reached, and Australian news is expected to return to the social media site in the coming days.

The world is watching the issue closely as other countries such as Canada and Britain are looking to pass similar legislation.

“Facebook has restored friendship with Australia, and Australian news will return to the Facebook platform,” the Australian minister told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

He added that Australia had fought a “proxy battle for the world” as other countries communicate with technology companies on a number of news and content issues.

“Facebook and Google did not hide the fact that they knew that the eyes of the world were focused on Australia, so they tried, I think, to come up with an effective law here,” he said.

Australia will offer four amendments, including a change in the proposed mandatory arbitration mechanism that will be used when tech giants fail to reach an agreement with publishers on fair payments for displaying news content.

Facebook said it was satisfied with the reviews Friedenberg said the government will present to the Australian Parliament today. The amended proposal must be approved by both houses of parliament before it becomes law.

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