Facebook said Tuesday it would lift a controversial ban on Australian news pages after the government agreed to amend the world’s first media law, fiercely opposed by the technology giant.
Cashier Josh Friedenberg and Facebook indicated compromise were reached on key aspects of a law that would force global technology companies to pay news companies for content that appears on their platforms.
“As a result of these changes, we can now work to further invest in public interest journalism and restore Facebook news to Australians in the coming days,” said Will Easton, managing director of Facebook Australia.
The social media company caused global outrage last week by blackouting news about its Australian users and inadvertently blocking a series of non-news Facebook pages related to everything from cancer charities to emergency services.
The compromise means that Facebook and Google – the main objectives of the law – are unlikely to be sanctioned, as long as they reach some deals with local media companies to pay for news.
The two companies opposed legislation that made negotiations with media companies mandatory and allowed an independent Australian arbitrator to impose an agreement.
“We are pleased to have been able to reach an agreement with the Australian Government and appreciate the constructive discussions we have had,” Easton said.
Despite earlier threats to withdraw its services from Australia due to legislation, Google has already softened its position and brokerage transactions worth millions of dollars with various media companies, including the two largest: News Corp. of Rupert Murdoch and Nine Entertainment.
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