Facebook lifts news blockade in Australia, inks content deals – Economic Times


Facebook Inc ended a one-week blackout of Australian news on its popular social media site on Friday and announced preliminary commercial agreements with three small local publishers.

The moves reflected easing tensions between the US company and the Australian government, a day after the country’s parliament passed a law forcing it and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay local media companies for using content on their platforms.

The new law makes Australia the first nation where a government arbitrator can set the price Facebook and Google pay domestic media to show their content if private negotiations fail. Canada and other countries have shown interest in replicating Australia’s reforms. “Global tech giants, they are changing the world but we can’t let them run the world,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday, adding that Big Tech must be accountable to sovereign governments.

Facebook, whose eight-day ban on Australian media captured global attention, said it had signed partnership agreements with Schwartz Media, Solstice Media and Private Media. The trio owns a mix of publications, including weekly newspapers, online magazines and specialist periodicals.

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Facebook did not disclose the financial details of the agreements, which will become effective within 60 days if a full deal is signed.

“These agreements will bring a new slate of premium journalism, including some previously paywalled content, to Facebook,” the social media company said in a statement.





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