New Delhi: Facebook executives, over the past week discussed with Treasurer Frydenberg and Minister Fletcher and came to an agreement to amend media law. In a Facebook Newsroom article the tech giant said 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”. In the coming days Facebook will restore news pages in Australia.
The tech giants are unlikely to be penalised as long as they reach some deals with local media firms to pay for news.
According to the Newsroom, Campbell Brown Facebook Global News Partnerships’ VP 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 a forced negotiation. It’s always been our intention to support journalism in Australia and around the world, and we’ll continue to invest in news globally and resist efforts by media conglomerates to advance regulatory frameworks that do not take account of the true value exchange between publishers and platforms like Facebook.”
Australia proposed new Media Bargaining law
Late last year, Australia had sealed its plan for making giants like Facebook and Google pay to media companies for their news content. This was the first time ever when a country took on tech giants head on, after which Canada and Britain expressed interest in taking a similar action. As per the laws, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg revealed the Tech giants will have to negotiate with local publishers and broadcasters over the amount to be paid for content that appears on their platforms or else, a government-appointed mediator will decide it for them.
According to a Reuters report, the bill ensured “Australian-generated news content by Australian-generated news organisations can and should be paid for and done so in a fair and legitimate way”.
Last week Australia passed the bill in the lower house with a majority support in the Senate. On Monday, a senior lawmaker said that Australia will not change legislation that would make Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google pay news outlets for content.
Tech Giants’ Tantrum
Protesting the laws Facebook blocked all news content and several state government and emergency department accounts in Australia. This was huge jolt to the news industry which has seen its business model get turned over by the tech giants like Google and Facebook. The company, made sure that International publishers could continue to publish news content on Facebook, but links and posts couldn’t be viewed or shared by Australian audiences.
According to an AFP report, Facebook and Google objected to legislation that made negotiations with media companies mandatory and gave an independent Australian arbiter the right to impose a settlement.
Meanwhile, Google which made threats to pull its services from Australia earlier because of the legislation softened its stance and brokered deals worth millions of dollars with a variety of media companies, including the two largest: Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and Nine Entertainment said the AFP report.