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Facebook, Google to pay news publications in Australia

The Australian government has passed a new media law that would make it mandatory for Facebook and Google to pay media companies for news.

twitter-logoAnkita Chakravarti | February 25, 2021 | Updated 10:23 IST

Highlights

  • Facebook, Google to pay news publications as per new Australian law.
  • Facebook had blocked news content in Australia after a dispute with the government over paying for content.
  • PM Scott Morrison had called Facebook’s move of banning news content in Australia “arrogant and “disappointing”.

The Australian government has passed a new media law that would make it mandatory for Facebook and Google to pay media companies for news. Facebook had blocked news content in Australia after a dispute with the government over paying for content. PM Scott Morrison had called Facebook's move of banning news content in Australia "arrogant and "disappointing".

As per reports, Facebook and Google will have to pay news publications under the new law called News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code. The government will review the code within one year of its commencement."The code will ensure that news media businesses are fairly remunerated for the content they generate, helping to sustain public-interest journalism in Australia,"Josh Frydenberg and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said in a joint statement. They also said that the government was "pleased to see progress by both Google and more recently Facebook in reaching commercial arrangements with Australian news media businesses."

With this, Australia has become the first country where the tech giants will have to pay rates set by the government if they fail to negotiate with the media companies.

Facebook had blocked users from seeing and sharing news on its platform after a fight with the government over a law that forces the tech company to pay the news publishers for using their content. Campbell Brown, Facebook VP, had alleged that the law misunderstands its relationship between their platform and publishers. He had also clarified that Facebook does not steal news content, publishers share their stories. However, almost a week after the ban was imposed, Facebook reversed the ban.

"We're pleased that we've been able to reach an agreement with the Australian government and appreciate the constructive discussions we've had with Treasurer Frydenberg and Minister Fletcher over the past week. We have consistently supported a framework that would encourage innovation and collaboration between online platforms and publishers. 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 recognize 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," Campbell Brown, VP, Global News, Facebook had said in a blog.

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