Facebook to invest $1 billion in news industry after Australia row

Facebook to restore news sharing in Australia after government amends proposed law

Facebook to restore news sharing in Australia after government amends proposed law

The social media platform was condemned by politicians and users around the world after it blocked 25million Australians from viewing and sharing news articles last week.

The government agreed to a number of changes addressed concerns about the Facebook relationship with publishers specifically rather than take to account commercial deals that digital platforms may have already made with news media businesses before deciding on the law. If the company does end up falling under the media payment law, then-via a new amendment announced on Tuesday-Facebook will have two months to negotiate deals with news publishers about paying them.

If Facebook and Google do not come to some agreement with publishers, that's when there would be forced arbitration where a third-party will make the decision on how much they will have to pay for news if they still want it on their platforms.

Under the final version of the bill, the law may not be applied to Facebook or Google if they already have deals to pay news publishers for their content in place.

Facebook has said it is thankful that the Australian government has made amendments to its "heavy-handed and unpredictable arbitration" in the form of a new Media Bargaining Law.

That action by Facebook drew a deluge of reactions from across Australia, with some government officials accusing Facebook of attempting to bully the Australian government. It's worth remembering the code's aim was to balance out the bargaining imbalance between big tech platforms and news media businesses. In addition, the revisions suggest that platforms like Facebook and Google could avoid such payments altogether if they voluntarily contribute money to support the news industry in Australia, according to The New York Times.

Alphabet Inc. -owned Google a year ago said it would shut down its search engine in Australia if the law was enacted.

"We do expect there to be arrangements with small and regional publishers as well as the larger ones, albeit through a more efficient mode of engagement through a default offer", Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said on Wednesday.

Cox said he gives credit to Google and Facebook for programs they've enacted to support journalism, including training, grants and tools.

PM gets his COVID-19 vaccination shot
The first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to a small group of Australians ahead of a broader rollout tomorrow. The Australian Government has a comprehensive plan to offer COVID-19 vaccines to all Australians by the end of October 2021.

The process of negotiating changes to the code has revealed the private values of Facebook, Google and any similar parties that could be impacted by the code.

"We're pleased that we've been able to reach an agreement with the Australian government and appreciate the constructive discussions we've had" said Easton.

Facebook pages for news outlets including the ABC, Herald Sun, Seven Network and Sydney Morning Herald were restored in the early hours of Friday morning.

Downing Street said it too was "concerned", and reports emerged that the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden planned to meet Facebook executives.

Google, meanwhile, has been signing up Australia's largest media companies in content-licensing deals through its News Showcase.

Some small publishers say they're having troubles coming to deals or are unable all together.

"These partnerships continue Facebook's commitment to the Australian news community", the company said in a statement, pointing to grants handed to Australian newsrooms over the COVID-19 pandemic and increased funding for fact-checkers in the local market.

Last week, in a move that will have felt abrupt and dramatic to many, Facebook announced it was stopping the sharing of news on its service in Australia.

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