Facebook on Tuesday, 23 February, announced that it is going to restore news on the social media platform in Australia in the coming days.
Saying that the company has reached an agreement with the Australian government, Facebook, in a statement said, “After further discussions, 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 recognise the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them. As a result of these changes, we can now work to further our investment in public interest journalism and restore news on Facebook for Australians in the coming days.”
Earlier, Facebook had – in a giant pushback against an Australian legislation on monetising news content online – blocked out users and news organisations, among others, in Australia from sharing news and other links on their platform.
WHAT WAS THE ROW?
Pushing back against a legislation by Australia on monetising online news content, Facebook blocked out useres and news organisations from sharing news and other links on their platform.
Initially, both Google an Facebook opposed the law until Google last week signed a three-year global agreement with Murdoch’s News Corp and agreed to compensate for its news material.
WHAT IS THE LAW PASSED BY AUSTRALIA?
Under the new law, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has proposed that both digital moguls – Facebook and Google – should be obligated to negotiate agreements with news outlets and compensate them for their content on their platforms.
WHAT WAS FACEBOOK’S INITIAL STAND?
In a post on 17 February, William Easton, Facebook’s Managing Director in Australia and New Zealand, justified its decision, saying that the code “fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content.”
“Google Search is inextricably intertwined with news and publishers do not voluntarily provide their content. On the other hand, publishers willingly choose to post news on Facebook,” Easton said.
He further pointed out the the social media generated around 5.1 billion free referrals to Australian publishers, estimated at around AU$407 million.