Facebook lifts Australian news ban after signing government contract to pay media companies

Sydney — Facebook on Tuesday Prohibition of Australian News Controversy Pay for the content to a local media company after the final deal on the pending breakthrough law. Australian Treasury Josh Frydenberg has announced a face-saving compromise to spend tens of millions of dollars on the local news department where Google and Facebook are struggling.

In return, U.S. digital companies have so far avoided being subject to compulsory payments, which can cost far more, and have created what they consider to be a disturbing global precedent. I will.

Just hours after the compromise was announced, Facebook announced its first proposed deal with Australian media company Seven West, saying it was pursuing commerce with other local media outlets. I was struck.

The company plans to use this content to launch a dedicated news product in Australia later this year.

The current state of technology and social media …


“As a result of these changes, we are able to drive investment in public interest journalism and restore Facebook news for Australians in the coming days,” said Will Easton, managing director of Facebook Australia. I will.

Last week, a social media company blacked out news for Australian users in protest of a proposed bill, accidentally blocking a series of non-news Facebook pages linked to everything from cancer charities to emergency response services. What he did caused worldwide anger.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has angryly accused Facebook of making a decision to “remove Australia from friends.”

Question time followed by Congress in Canberra
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will speak in a dispatch box on June 11, 2020, during a question time in the House of Representatives in Canberra, Australia.

Sam Mooy / Getty

Google is already mediating millions of dollars worth of deals with local media companies, including two major companies, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and Nine Entertainment.

Commentators described the 11-hour amendment made to make Congress appear to pass the bill this week as a “reasonable compromise.”

“Everyone can leave by saying they’ve got what we want,” Rob Nichols, a business professor at the University of New South Wales, told AFP.

The two companies now have two more months to reach further agreement to avoid binding arbitration.

“It doesn’t exactly apply to anyone.”

Tech companies were fiercely opposed to the bill from the beginning, fearing it might threaten its business model.

In particular, the two companies opposed rules that required negotiations with media companies and gave independent Australian arbitrators the right to impose financial reconciliation.

If a company is deemed to have made a “significant contribution” to the Australian news industry through an unspecified “commercial agreement”, that process will be bypassed.

“We are faced with the strange possibility that the mandatory code for news media has been passed by Congress and will not apply to anyone,” said Marcus Strom, head of the union’s Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance. .. “It will just sit in the treasurer [drawer] As a threat to the fraudulent activity of digital companies “

Google too I want to avoid creating precedents The platform should pay everyone for links, which can make their flagship search engine non-functional.

Facebook — much less dependent on news content — initially said that being forced to pay for news was simply not worth it and would shut down the content.

“There is no doubt that Australia was a global proxy battle,” Frydenberg said.

Law critics say it’s punishing innovative businesses and grabbing money through the struggling but politically linked traditional media.

Big bucks to drive change

Thousands of journalism jobs and numerous media outlets have been lost in Australia alone in the last decade as the sector monitored the flow of advertising revenue to digital players.

For every $ 100 spent today by Australian advertisers, $ 49 will be sent to Google and $ 24 to Facebook, according to the Australian Competitive Watchdog.

Technical officials believe the law is being promoted, in particular, by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, which controls the local media industry and has close ties to Australia’s conservative government.

News Corporation Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch is watching at a panel discussion at the B20 CEO meeting in Sydney, Australia on July 17, 2014.

Jason Reid / Pool / Getty

The new provisions of the law give Facebook and Google more discretion over who to trade with and what the amount involved will be.

Campbell Brown, Facebook’s Vice President of Global News Partnerships, said:

Global meaning

Facebook and Google may face the prospect of having to duplicate transactions with media around the world as the European Union, Canada and other jurisdictions are working to regulate this sector. ..

Since its introduction at the turn of the century, Google and Facebook have grown into two of the world’s largest and most profitable companies, with little regulation.

However, a series of scandals about false information, privacy breaches, data harvesting, and virtual monopoly of online advertising has caught the attention of Watchdog.

Facebook lifts Australian news ban after signing government contract to pay media companies

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