Facebook backs down in Australia after government news deal: that’s how the two parties have had to give in
Facebook has agreed with the Australian government restore access to news on your platform “for the next few days.” The news comes after a last minute agreement between the authorities and the social network, where it has been agreed to introduce some changes in the proposition of law debated in parliament that forced big technology to pay for the news.
The war between Facebook and Australia has been followed closely around the world, as it is considered a first test of what could happen in the rest of the countries. These are the details of the agreement, what has changed and what are those involved of the new episode for access to the news. A debate that seems to have reached a point of neutrality, but will surely know more chapters.
Australian government manages to bring the news back
Josh Frydenberg, Australian Treasury Secretary, has announced that Facebook will restore the country’s media pages and explains that both he and Paul Fletcher, the Australian communications minister, await approval of the Media Negotiation Code in Parliament this week.
These additional amendments “will provide greater clarity to digital platforms and news media companies on how the Code is intended to operate and will strengthen the framework to ensure that news media companies are fairly remunerated,” the Australian government explains. . “The code maintains its key measures, that is, it is a mandatory code,” explains Frydenberg, who also points to the importance of Facebook’s own “good faith” business with the media.
Facebook today announced it will restore Australian news media to its pages.
— Paul Fletcher (@PaulFletcherMP) February 23, 2021
What are these changes? This is what the Australian government describes:
- “The decision to designate a platform you will need to consider whether a digital platform has made a significant contribution to the sustainability of the news industry Australian through trade agreements with media companies. “
- “A digital platform will be notified before any final decision, noting that the final decision on whether or not to designate a digital platform will be made no earlier than one month from the date of notification.”
- “The nondifferentiation provisions will not be triggered because the trade agreements resulted in different amounts of compensation.”
- “Final offer arbitration is a last resort in which commercial agreements cannot be reached requiring that mediation, in good faith, take place before arbitration for no more than two months.”
In short, an exception is added in case Facebook makes a “significant contribution” to the media industry and both notices and arbitration are added to avoid reaching a strict ban.
What does Facebook think
Facebook stated that this legislation “fundamentally misunderstood” how Facebook’s relationship with news publishers worked and penalized the social network for content that it “neither took nor asked for.” As Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president of global news partnerships, explains: “In the future, the government has clarified that we will retain the ability to decide whether the news appears on Facebook so that we are not automatically subjected to forced negotiation. ”
The company expresses that it is satisfied with the agreement because it introduces “a series of changes and guarantees”, mainly allowing Facebook to have room for maneuver before being subject to the obligations that the government seeks. “After further discussion with the Australian government, we reached an agreement that will allow us to support publishers of our choice, including small and local publishers,” adds Campbell.
Facebook hints in its statement that the decision is not irreversible and could in the future block access to the news again. He also points out that the company maintains a tool, Facebook News Tab, for which you already pay a fee to certain media. This feature is only available in the United Kingdom and the United States. Equivalently, companies like Google have News Showcase.
It will be through these initiatives, if the Australian government sees them as a significant enough contribution, that tech companies will be able to continue operating by complying with the obligations of the new Australian law.
Image | Brett Jordan
was originally published in