Facebook announced that it will be restoring all news pages in Australia after the platform and Australian government agreed to certain changes within the media coding that would grant greater control over what appears on the platform from both parties.
Facebook and the Australian government have been at odds for months now. Initially Australia was attempting to pass legislation that would require Facebook and Google to pay news and media outlets for their content before they’re able to share it across their platforms. “The initial version of the legislation would have allowed media outlets to bargain either individually or collectively with Facebook and Google — and to enter binding arbitration if the parties couldn’t reach an agreement,” according to reports.
This week the Australian government also released a statement in which they claimed they would “amend the code to include a provision that must take into account whether a digital platform has made a significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry through reaching commercial agreements with news media businesses.”
Campbell Brown is Facebook’s vice president for global news partnerships who recently spoke with the media regarding the new deal.
“The government has clarified Facebook will retain the ability to decide if news appears on the platform so that we won’t automatically be subject to forced negotiation.”
Brown continued to explain that the “agreement will allow Facebook to support the publishers they choose to, including small and local publishers. Our company will also be restoring the news on Facebook in Australia in the coming days.”
Brown is of course referring to Facebook’s decision last week to remove all news articles and services from the platform, barring Australians from finding or sharing news. This move not only impacted the thousands of media publishers on Facebook, but government agencies and services as well. The removal of media outlets indirectly removed pages for emergency government services and charities, leaving many Australians who are dependent on those services without the ability to access them.
Facebook’s recent decision to restore the news came after the Australian Senate discussed the recent media laws passed that allowed the platform to take away so many essential services and pages.
“It’s always been our intention to support journalism in Australia and around the world, and we’ll continue to invest in news globally, and resist efforts by media conglomerates to advance regulatory frameworks that do not take account of the true value exchange between publishers and platforms like Facebook,” Brown explained.
Google, on the other hand, has already been attempting to surpass the new legislation by partnering with some of Australia’s largest media organizations. All of these deals are currently unconfirmed, but will likely be revealed in the coming weeks.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.