Facebook Restores News Content After Brokering Deal With Australian Regulators

Facebook will restore news pages in Australia after the government agreed to change a proposed law forcing tech companies to pay publishers for news content.

The new law would force Google and Facebook to pay Australian news publishers for stories with terms of a deal set by a third party, had they not been able to negotiate payout agreements with local publishers themselves.

Google agreed to follow the law after striking a deal with the nation’s biggest publishers. Facebook protested and yanked news content from its site in Australia last Thursday.

The Australian government relented to the pressure and agreed to changes to some of the terms within its new media code.

Campbell Brown, Facebook’s VP of news, said in a statement, “After further discussions, we are satisfied 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.”

The Australian government said it would add an amendment that “must take into account whether a digital platform has made a significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry through reaching commercial agreements with news media businesses.”

Arbitration with a third party will only be used as a “last resort” following a period of “good faith” mediation.

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