Facebook Restores Australian News Pages

Facebook has restored news content on its platform for its Australian audience after negotiating with the government over its proposed media code.

Facebook and Google initially opposed the code which will force them to establish a deal with Australian publishers or face penalties.

“It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses — it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection, and a sustainable media landscape,” explained Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg when the bill was being introduced.

Last week, more than  13 million Australian Facebook users were unable to share or access news content including those from emergency services, health authorities, and non-profit organizations.

Facebook finally agreed after the Australian government amended the media code to include a one-month notice if the government plans to designate a platform as bound by this code.

The other provisions that were added included notification of commercial designations, consideration over whether a particular digital platform has “made a significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry,” and a two-month mediation period between the platform and media companies before entering into an agreement.

Facebook’s vice president of global news partnerships, Campbell Brown said that because of the amendments, they “can now work to further our investment in public interest journalism and restore news on Facebook for Australians in the coming days.”

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