According to recent reports relating to the Australia – Facebook fracas, both parties have reached an agreement. After days of restricting Australia’s users from viewing or sharing news on Facebook, the ban will be over soon. The Australian government and Facebook have been in negotiations and it is yielding a positive result. The Australian government is about to pass a new media law requiring digital platforms to pay for news.
Facebook said in a recent statement: “After further discussions, we are satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to some changes and commitments, which address our core concerns.”
The government led by Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, revised the proposed “News Media Negotiation Act” at the last minute. At present, the regulation is in Parliament, and it may soon become a new law. The bill was introduced in Parliament in December last year.
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Why the fracas between Australia and Facebook
Australia wants digital platforms to pay local media and publishers to link their content to news feeds or search results.
Experts claim that if the two parties cannot reach a commercial agreement, the government arbitrator can determine the final price. This means the decision can be favorable to either party (digital platform or publisher). However, Facebook sternly opposes the arbitration clause. Nevertheless, Facebook is not the only voice to oppose the new laws
According to Sir Tim Berners-Lee (creator of the web), the internet will be “unworkable” if the government force companies to pay for content.
What is the change?
The amendments state that the Australian government will not outrightly resort to arbitration. It will consider the agreement between digital platforms and media companies. After considerations, it will then decide if the guidelines apply to these technology giants.
The Australian government will also notify these digital platforms one month in advance before the final decision. In addition, the rectification will also include a two-month period. This period will allow digital platforms and publishers to negotiate before finally resorting to arbitration.
Campbell Brown, vice president of global news partnerships 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,”
“We have come to an agreement that will allow us to support the publishers we choose to, including small and local publishers.”