Facebook Lifts Restrictions on Australian News Content

Facebook by Nghia Nguyen on Unsplash - Australian news
Facebook by Nghia Nguyen on Unsplash - Australian news

Facebook will lift restrictions on news content in Australia after the social media giant reached an agreement with the Australian government. The company blocked Australian news content last week after the country’s policymakers proposed a law that obliges Facebook to pay publishers for news content published on the platform.

“Facebook has re-friended Australia,” said Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

Australian policymakers proposed a law that obliges both Google and Facebook to pay Australian news publishers for news content published on the platforms. A move that Facebook rejected — forcing the tech giant to block all news links published on its website. Nevertheless, Google had another say about the law and reportedly negotiated a deal with Australia over news content on its platform.

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Although Google first objected to the Australian law; the search engine giant settled for negotiation over the proposal. Meanwhile, Facebook went for a more severe reaction blocking any content coming from country’s news publishers. Consequently, the move resulted in outrage among Facebook users across the whole world.

Finally, after a weekend of “intensive negotiations,” Facebook lifted the ban, said Mr. Frydenberg.

“We are satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognize the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them,” said William Easton, Facebook’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand, in a statement

Facebook profited from Australian news publishers

According to Australian lawmakers, Facebook limited the profits of news publishers and heavily profited from their news content. The platform allegedly made money on behalf of news publishers who publish content on the social media platform. This resulted in an Australian counter-attack to impose stricter laws on Facebook.

“Going forward, the government has clarified we will retain the ability to decide if news appears on Facebook so that we won’t automatically be subject to a forced negotiation,” Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president of news, said in a statement.

According to the American National Radio, Facebook had reached a deal with the largest Australian newspaper Seven West Media regarding news publishing on its platform.