Facebook's ban was in response to the new code that will force tech platforms to pay Australian media companies for the content users share.

Facebook to restore news pages in Australia draft law to be tweaked
Atom Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - 13:46

Australia's government announced on Tuesday that Facebook has agreed to lift its ban on Australians sharing news after a deal was struck on legislation that would make digital giants pay for journalism.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Facebook confirmed in statements that they had reached agreement on amendments to proposed legislation that would make the social network and Google pay for news that they feature. "We will restore news on Facebook in Australia in the next few days," Campbell Brown, vice president of global news partnerships at Facebook, said in a statement late Monday. 

"As a result of further discussion, the Australian Government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address key concerns about allowing commerce to recognise the value that the Platform provides to publishers compared to the value it receives from publishers. I'm happy with it," Brown said.

Facebook blocked Australian users from accessing and sharing news after the House of Representatives passed the draft law late Wednesday last week. The Senate will debate amended legislation on Tuesday.

The government has been advised by Facebook that it intends to restore Australian news pages in the coming days, Frydenberg and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said in a statement.

Facebook will restore news pages in Australia in the coming days after the government has agreed to amend the News Media Bargaining Code, the media reported on Tuesday.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's ABC News app shot to the top of Apple's App Store charts in Australia over the course of the last few days, just after Facebook banned Australian news sources on its platform.

Facebook's ban was in response to the new code that will force tech platforms to pay Australian media companies for the content users share (and that platforms earn ad revenue from).

Facebook took issue with the change and prohibited Australian news and media organisations from sharing news posts, and Australian users from seeing news from international sources as well.

"From now on, the government has made it clear that it will retain the ability to decide whether news will appear on Facebook and not be subject to compulsory negotiations," Brown further said.

Late last month, Google also threatened to pull its Search engine from Australia if the proposed media bargaining code, that directs Google and other tech giants to pay news publishers for using their content, goes into effect.

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