Facebook will lift its ban on news items shared in Australia after a compromise was reached at the 11th hour over a controversial, pioneering media law.
Social network giant Facebook had blocked all news articles, government pages, charities and even emergency services on its platform in Australia amid tensions between Facebook and Australia’s government.
The feud involved legislation that would force platforms like Facebook and Google to negotiate fair payments with news organisations for using their content.
The idea is designed to support journalism by making sure that media companies are properly compensated by the digital giants for the content they provide.
Google had previously threatened to pull the plug on its search engine from Australia if the law was passed, but has since struck its own deals with the country’s media companies.
Now, recent changes to the law mean that the government may not apply it to Facebook if it could demonstrate that it signed enough deals with media houses to pay them for their content.
Facebook’s Australian managing director confirmed that news will be restored in the coming days following the breakthrough. However, the platform indicated that it would pull the plug on news again should the code be applied in the future.
The debate over social media giants paying for news has also made its way to Malta and the EU, with Maltese MEP Alex Agius Saliba agreeing that Google and Facebook should pay for news.
“With their dominant market position in search, social media and advertising, large digital platforms create power imbalances and benefit significantly from news content,” Agius Saliba told the Financial Times. “I think it is only fair that they pay back a fair amount.”
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