No longer friends: Facebook lifts Australian news ban

 No longer friends: Facebook lifts Australian news ban

ANBERRA, Australia (AP) - Facebook announced on Tuesday that it would lift the ban on Australians from viewing and posting news on its platform after it struck a deal with the government on a proposed law that would force digital giants to pay for journalism.

The social network raised alarm with its sudden decision last week to block news from its platform across Australia after the House passed the bill. The initial power outage also limited access - at least temporarily - to government pandemic, public health and emergency services, sparking outrage.


Friedenberg and Facebook have confirmed that the parties have agreed to amend the proposed law. Changes to digital platforms will be notified one month before they are officially designated in accordance with the code. This will give participants more time to enter into brokerage agreements before they are forced to enter into binding arbitration agreements.

Campbell Brown, Facebook's vice president of news partnerships, added in a statement Tuesday that the deal allows the company to choose which publishers it will support, including small and local ones.

In the coming days, we are restoring news on Facebook in Australia. Going forward, the government has made it clear that we retain the ability to decide whether news will appear on Facebook so that we are not automatically forced into negotiations, Brown said.

Friedenberg described the agreed amendments as clarifying the government's intentions. He said his talks with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg were difficult.

A group of lobbyists for European publishers, which have teamed up with Microsoft, said the deal shows that such legislation is possible - and not only in Australia.

The last twist proves that regulation works,said Angela Mills Wade, executive director of the European Board of Publishers. Regulators around the world will be confident they can continue to draw inspiration from the Australian government's determination to counter unacceptable threats from powerful commercial regulatory authorities.

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Facebook said it will now be in talks with Australian publishers.

We are pleased that the Australian government has agreed to a series of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about permitting commercial transactions that recognize the value of our platform to publishers versus the value we get from them,said Regional Managing Director Facebook William - Easton said.

As a result of these changes, we can now work on further investments in public interest journalism and restore Facebook news for Australians in the coming days,Easton added.