Facebook Inc. has agreed to lift their news ban in Australia, moving away from its original stance of prohibiting users from receiving and sharing news.
The technology company implemented the ban due to disagreements with the government over whether or not rising tech companies should pay news organizations for their content. Facebook agreed to change their stance after the government made an announcement that it would change the proposed law.
The original law, called the “News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code,” proposed by the Australian government, would force major technology platforms to pay news publishers to publish their content.
“What Australia’s proposed legislation fails to recognize is the fundamental nature of the relationship between our platform and publishers,” wrote Campbell Brown, Facebook Vice President for Global News Partnerships, in a statement. blog posts. “Contrary to some people’s opinion, Facebook does not steal news content. Publishers choose to share their stories on Facebook.”
Both local and international news organizations trying to post stories and citizens trying to share existing news received notifications stating they were blocked from sharing any content during the ban, according to Associated Press.
Facebook openly spoke out against the original statute, states that law “Basically misunderstood the relationship between our platform and the publishers that use it to share news content.”
For a very long time, there has been a stalemate between tech companies and news publishers, with news organizations arguing for years that they have not received adequate compensation for their articles and other content, according to The New York Times.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated in a Facebook blog post that Facebook’s initial move would make his government more committed to passing the law.
“Facebook’s actions not to befriend Australia today, cutting off critical information services on health and emergency services, are as arrogant as disappointing,” Morrison wrote in Facebook. “These actions will only confirm concerns that more and more countries are expressing the behavior of BigTech companies thinking they are bigger than the government and that the rules shouldn’t apply to them.”
Google was also affected by the original law and decided to strike a deal with News Corp. The alliance between Google and News Corp. will help develop a “subscription platform, share ad revenue and invest in audio and video journalism,” according to CNN business.
“This has been a major culprit for our company for more than a decade and I am grateful that trade terms have changed, not only for News Corp, but for every publisher,” News Corp. CEO of News Corp. Robert Thomson said in a press statement. “Over the years, we have been accused of tilting to windmills technology, but what was once a solitary campaign, quixotic search, has become a movement, and journalism and society will be stepped up.”
Facebook is celebrating changing the law, which will now allow Facebook to negotiate agreements with certain news organizations.
“As a result of this change, we can now work to continue our investment in public interest journalism and restore news on Facebook for Australians in the coming days,” Facebook Australia Managing Director Will Easton said.
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