Sydney: Facebook on Friday restored access to news for its Australian users after reaching an agreement with the government on a landmark law requiring it and other tech companies to pay for journalistic content.
Australian media Facebook pages were able to update early Friday morning for the first time in a week, since social media imposed a ban on viewing news content in Down Under in a dispute over the law that was adopted on Thursday.
Facebook and Google, which are targeted by the regulation, have vehemently contested provisions requiring them to submit to mandatory arbitration over the amount they must pay local media outlets to display Australian news on their platforms and search results.
To avoid being hit by arbitration, Google has negotiated multi-million-dollar content licensing deals with a host of Australian companies, notably the country’s two largest news organizations: Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and Nine Entertainment.
Facebook, which relies less on news for its business model, responded on February 18th by blocking access to Australian news for all of its users.
The move also hit several non-media Facebook pages, including those of government emergency services, health organizations, and charities, sparking widespread outrage.
Facebook eventually followed Google in agreeing to negotiate the paid arrangements with Australian media, prompting the government to relax arbitration requirements in the so-called News Media Bargaining Act.
When announcing the end of the news blackout, Facebook said it was “looking forward to continuing to work with the industry to find better ways to support the news.”
The company also announced potential deals with three independent media companies, Private Media, Schwartz Media and Solstice Media.
The agreements marked a new entry in pushing content for Facebook and Google, which have largely become the largest and most profitable companies in the world by organizing, organizing, and indexing other people’s content for free.
Facebook and Google both said they will invest nearly $ 1 billion in news around the world over the next three years.
Google will pay for the news content that appears on its “Showcase” product, and Facebook is expected to pay service providers who appear in the “News” feature, which will be launched in Australia later this year.