Facebook strikes deal with Australian government; lifted ban on news

On Tuesday, Facebook said it will lift the ban on Australian news and pay local media companies for content. Facebook’s ban came in response to Australian legislation that would force tech giants like Google and Facebook to pay for news content shared on their platforms.

Instead, Google and Facebook will pour tens of millions of dollars into the struggling news sector to avoid being subjected to mandatory payments that could cost them vastly more.

Facebook has announced its first proposed its first deal with Australian media company Seven West and is reportedly pursuing commercial deals with other local news organisations.

The company is expected to launch a dedicated news product featuring Australian content later this year.

William Easton, Managing Director, Facebook Australia & New Zealand said “We’re pleased that we’ve been able to reach an agreement with the Australian government and appreciate the constructive discussions we’ve had with Treasurer Frydenberg and Minister Fletcher over the past week. We have consistently supported a framework that would encourage innovation and collaboration between online platforms and publishers. After further discussions, we are satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognize the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them. As a result of these changes, we can now work to further our investment in public interest journalism and restore news on Facebook for Australians in the coming days.”

Both companies have two months to reach further agreements that would stave off binding arbitration.


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