Facebook Strikes Deal to Restore News Sharing in Australia


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SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook said on Monday that it had struck a deal with the Australian government that would allow users and publishers in the country to once again share and view links to news articles on the social network.

Facebook last week had blocked the sharing or viewing of news links in Australia because the country was set to pass a law requiring tech companies to negotiate with media publishers and compensate them for the content that appears on their sites.

The legislation includes a code of conduct that would allow media companies to bargain individually or collectively with digital platforms over the value of their news content.

But on Monday, the Australian government added amendments to the proposed code. That included a two-month mediation period, giving the two sides more time to negotiate commercial deals that could help Facebook avoid having to work under the code’s provisions.

In exchange, Facebook agreed to restore news links and articles for Australian users “in the coming days,” according to a statement from Josh Frydenberg, Australia’s treasurer, and Paul Fletcher, the minister for communications, infrastructure, cities and the arts.

“Importantly, the amendments will strengthen the hand of regional and small publishers in obtaining appropriate remuneration for the use of their content by the digital platforms,” the statement added.

Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president of global news partnerships, said in a statement, “We’re restoring news on Facebook in Australia in the coming days. 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 a forced negotiation.”

Mike Isaac reported from San Francisco, and Damien Cave from Sydney, Australia.

This is a developing story and will be updated.


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