Facebook Reverses News Ban in Australia

Facebook and the Australian government had been in a quarrel since July 2020. Clearly, the dispute is over a legislation draft made by the Australian government. The draft was for tech giants to pay a fair amount to the journalists for the news content. However, Facebook blocked news pages in response to the draft. After a couple of meetings, Facebook reverses news ban.

Source: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

What happened last week?

Last week, Facebook made a risky move. All the Australian news pages were blocked by Facebook in response to the drafted law. Australians were restricted to share and view any news content.

Frydenberg meetings with Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg and treasurer Frydenberg had a series of meetings. The meetings were about the proposed law and the amendments which could be made to it. After a couple of meetings, Facebook is now open to negotiation.

Campbell Brown’s statement

Facebook had recent discussions with the government according to BBC. Campbell Brown, vice president of Global news at Facebook said, “Going forward, the government has clarified we will retain the ability to decide if news appears on Facebook so that we won’t automatically be subject to forced negotiation”. She also added, “We have come to an agreement that will allow us to support the publishers we choose to, including small and local publishers.”

The new deal

Frydenberg tweeted that Facebook will restore all the news pages in the coming days. He also said,’ Facebook has re-friended Australia’ to the reporters on Tuesday. After several meetings, a deal has been made between both parties. The new deal is to give a two-month mediation period to both parties. It also includes amendments in the proposed law.

What made Facebook reconsider its decision?

Many other countries supported the law. Facebook is aware of the situation right now. All the other countries have eyes on Facebook’s next move. Nevertheless, Facebook clearly doesn’t want other countries to replicate the drafted law. Provoking Australia’s allies would be a check-mate for Facebook itself. After a couple of meetings, they have come to an agreement.

What now?

The healthcare sector and emergency sector pages were also blocked. Therefore, Facebook reverses news ban in the country. In the upcoming days, Facebook will restore news pages in the country.

Bottom line

Facebook strongly opposed the proposed law, but it knows doing so will provoke Australia’s allies. Facebook reverses news ban in the country and will restore news content. Now that, amendments are made, Facebook will have greater control over them to compensate. Facebook and the Australian government have made compromises that would be best for both parties.