News – AU – Facebook lifts Australian news ban after government changes media code


Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announces that in the 11th Hour a compromise was reached when the legislation is discussed in the Senate

Facebook is set to restore Australian news sites in the next few days after the government approves further changes to the media negotiation code that the social network and Google use to pay for news

On Thursday, Facebook blocked all messages on its platform in Australia, accidentally blocking information and government sites, including health and emergency services

This historic ban on Australian news sites came about amid escalating tensions over legislation that would force platforms to negotiate fair payment with news organizations for the use of their content

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Secretary of Communication Paul Fletcher announced that the compromise in the 11th The hour came when the legislation was discussed in the Senate

The concessions the government has made include: announcing the platforms one month in advance of being named; taking into account all the commercial deals Google and Facebook did before they were named and a two month mediation process before arbitration begins

Facebook Australian executive director Will Easton confirmed that news will be restored to Facebook news feeds in Australia “in the coming days” after agreements were reached with the government to change the code

“We are delighted to have reached an agreement with the Australian government and appreciate the constructive discussions we had with Treasurer Frydenberg and Minister Fletcher over the past week,” he said in a blog post

“After further discussion, we are pleased that the Australian Government has approved a number of changes and warranties that address our core concerns about enabling commercial deals that would increase the value of our platform to publishers relative to the value we receive from Receive them, acknowledge ”

As part of the changes, Facebook will be given a month’s notice before applying the Code to Facebook if the government so decides A statement from Campbell Brown, global vice president of partnerships at Facebook, on Tuesday suggested the company could get news again to Australia if the code was broken

“Going forward, the government has made it clear that we can still decide whether messages appear on Facebook so that we are not automatically subject to a forced negotiation””

Frydenberg said: “It is important that the changes strengthen the hand of regional and small publishers in order to receive adequate remuneration for the use of their content by the digital platforms

“The justification confirms that the code is only valid to the extent that a digital platform provides covered news content via these services

“These amendments give the parties further impetus for trade negotiations outside of the Code – a key feature of the framework the government is putting in place to promote more sustainable journalism of public interest in Australia

Nine Entertainment, Australia’s largest locally owned media company, welcomed the changes and looked forward to resuming talks with Facebook over a commercial agreement

“We’re delighted that the government has reached a compromise on digital code legislation to bring Facebook back into negotiations with Australian media organizations,” said a spokesman for Nine

Nine had turned down all of Facebook’s offers because they would be invalid if the media code became law

The director of the Australia Institute’s Responsible Technology Center, Peter Lewis, said at first sight that the integrity of the code has been preserved

“This whole episode should give Australians a break to pause to ponder our over-reliance on Facebook to connect with each other,” said Lewis

• When deciding which platform to use under the Code, one must consider whether a digital platform has made a significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry by reaching commercial agreements with news media companies

• A digital platform will be informed of the government’s intention to designate a digital platform prior to a final decision A final decision on whether or not to name a digital platform will be made no earlier than one month after the date of notification

• Non-differentiation provisions will not be triggered because trade agreements resulted in different amounts of compensation or business outcomes arising from normal business practice

• Final Offer Arbitration is a last resort where trade deals cannot be reached by requiring good faith mediation that does not exceed two months prior to arbitration

Australia, Facebook, Media

News – AU – Facebook lifts news ban for Australia after government changes media code