Facebook Restore It’s News Content For Australian Audiences


After a few days of negotiations, Facebook has announced it will restore Australia’s access to news pages following changes in the country’s media code.

At issue was a provision in the country’s proposed News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code which would force platforms like Google and Facebook to pay news sites for their content. It would also require the platforms to give advance notice about shifts in their algorithms.

“It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable media landscape,” Australian Treasure Josh Frydenberg  said when the legislation was introduced last year.

Facebook and Google both strongly objected to the proposal. While Google ultimately decided to preemptively negotiate deals with major Australian publishers, Facebook blocked all news content for its Australian users and all content from Australian news publishers for users worldwide on February 17.

“The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content. It has left us facing a stark choice: attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia,” a blog post from Facebook announcing the block said. “With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter.”

Over the weekend, Frydenberg and the Australian government attempted to negotiate with Facebook.

During a news conference on Saturday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison joked that Facebook had “tentatively friended us again.”

The amendments to the media code include a one-month notice period if the government plans to designate a platform as bound by this code