March 2nd, 2021

Facebook says it will lift its Australian news ban soon

By Rod McGuirk, The Associated Press on February 22, 2021.

FILE - This March 29, 2018, file photo shows the Facebook logo on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square. Facebook said on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, it lift its ban on Australians sharing news after a deal was struck on legislation that would make digital giants pay for journalism.(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

CANBERRA, Australia – Facebook said on Tuesday it will lift its ban on Australians sharing news after a deal was struck with Australia’s government 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 to require the social network and Google pay for Australian news that they feature.

Facebook blocked Australian users from accessing and sharing news last week after the House of Representatives passed the draft law late Wednesday.

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.

Google has been signing up Australia’s largest media companies in content licensing deals through its News Showcase model.

The platform says it has struck deals with more than 50 Australian titles through Showcase and more than 500 publishers globally using the model which was launched in October.

Facebook said it will now negotiate deals with Australian publishers under its own model, Facebook News.

“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,” Facebook regional managing director William Easton said in a statement.

“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, “ Easton added.

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