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Facebook befriends Australia

Facebook is set to restore its services in Australia after the government makes amendments to the proposed law.  

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Facebook is set to restore its services in Australia after the government makes amendments to the proposed law.  

The tech giant announced on Tuesday, to restore its services in Australia, after a long standoff that leads Facebook to ban its services in Australia in the response to a proposed legislation that would force the company to pay news publishers.

However, Facebook says in a blog post that the Australian government has reviewed some amendments in the proposed law like the media bargaining code following negotiations with the company, along with other guarantees that address Facebook’s concerns.

Sydney Morning Herald the Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher established the amendments after obtaining support from amendments to the proposed media negotiating code include a two-month mediation period that would give the publishers and the internet giant more time to negotiate commercial deals.

However, the longer period will allow Facebook to ignore entering into forced negotiation, proposed by legislation where they may have to agree to the binding final offer. 

Moreover, Facebook agreed to open its services in the coming days, and the agreement allows it to “support the publishers we choose to, including small and local publishers.”

However, Facebook’s vice president, Campbell Brown observes that “the company will retain the ability to decide if news appears on Facebook so that it isn’t “automatically subject to a forced negotiation.”

Josh Frydenberg the treasurer said on Tuesday that “Facebook has befriended Australia, and Australian news will be restored to the Facebook platform, and Facebook has committed to entering into good faith negotiations with Australian news media businesses and seeking to reach agreements to pay for content.”

However, last week Facebook initiated the ban on its new content in Australia, the ban implemented created much chaos sweeping up the profits of many Australian agencies. However, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison voiced outrage about the ban calling it an action to “unfriend Australia,” adding that the actions only confirm concerns that big tech companies think they are “bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them.” In the reply, Facebook clarified that “it was forced to implement the ban as the proposed media bargaining code “fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content.”

However, the proposed proposal by the Australian Government would have forced both Google and Facebook to negotiate revenue-sharing terms with news publishers in the country. Google had also threatened to ban its services in Australia in protest against the code, but it later denying the threat agreed to multi-million dollar deals with major Australian publishers.

Facebook’s demand for a so-called “poison pill” clause that would allow Facebook to scrap any deal struck with publishers at any time, including after the passage of the new laws made the negotiations hold up.  The restoration of Facebook with Australian media will allow them to reinstate its deals with Group Nine, News Corp, and Seven West Media. “That certainly was the intention from Mark Zuckerberg, as he explained it to me, was to do commercial deals and they were pretty advanced with several parties…ahead of their actions last Thursday and obviously that was interrupted, and now they have re-engaged with the parties,” Frydenberg said on Tuesday and he expected commercial deals to be announced soon

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