Asharq Al-awsat English https://aawsat.com/english Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper http://feedly.com/icon.svg

Facebook to Restore Australia News, Pay Media Companies

Facebook to Restore Australia News, Pay Media Companies

Tuesday, 23 February, 2021 - 10:00
A 3D printed Facebook logo is seen in front of displayed Australia’s flag in this illustration photo taken February 18, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Facebook said Tuesday it will lift a contentious ban on Australian news and pay local media companies for content, after a last-gasp deal on pending landmark legislation.


Australia's Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced a face-saving compromise that will see Google and Facebook plunge tens of millions of dollars into the struggling local news sector.


In return the US digital firms will, for now, avoid being subjected to mandatory payments that could cost them vastly more and create what they see as an alarming global precedent.


Just hours after the compromise was unveiled, Facebook announced its first proposed deal with an Australian media company, Seven West, and was said to be pursuing commercial deals with other local news organizations.


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


"As a result of these changes, we can now work to further our investment in public interest journalism, and restore news on Facebook for Australians in the coming days," said Will Easton, managing director of Facebook Australia.


The social media firm sparked global outrage last week by blacking out news for its Australian users in protest at the proposed legislation, and inadvertently blocking a series of non-news Facebook pages linked to everything from cancer charities to emergency response services.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison had angrily accused Facebook of making a decision to "unfriend" Australia.


Google has already brokered deals worth millions of dollars with local media companies, including the two largest: Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and Nine Entertainment.


Editor Picks

Multimedia