Australia says Facebook will lift its Australian news ban

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The Australian government has announced Facebook has agreed to lift its ban on Australians sharing news, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Associated Press Reporter

Australia’s government announced on Tuesday that Facebook has agreed to lift its ban on Australians sharing news after a deal was struck on legislation that would make digital giants pay for journalism.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Facebook confirmed in statements that they had reached agreement on amendments to proposed legislation that would make the social network and Google pay for news that they feature.

Facebook blocked Australian users from accessing and sharing news after the House of Representatives passed the draft law late on Wednesday last week.


Front pages of Australian newspapers are displayed following Facebook’s original decision to block news content (Rick Rycroft/AP)

The Senate will debate amended legislation on Tuesday.

“The government has been advised by Facebook that it intends to restore Australian news pages in the coming days,” Mr Frydenberg and communications minister Paul Fletcher said in a statement.

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Google has been signing up Australia’s largest media companies in content licensing deals through its News Showcase model.

The platform says it has struck deals with more than 50 Australian titles through Showcase and more than 500 publishers globally using the model which was launched in October.

Facebook said it will now negotiate deals with Australian publishers under its own model, Facebook News.

“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,” Facebook regional managing director William Easton said in a statement.

“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, ” Easton added.

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