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Facebook Reaches Agreement with Australian Gov’t and Removes Block on News Sharing

Publications / Feb 28, 2021

Article written by Haim Ravia, Dotan Hammer and Adi Shoval

Facebook announced its decision to block news sharing in Australia due to the proposed media bargaining bill promoted by the Australian government, according to which online platforms are required to compensate news outlets for sharing their content.

Google and Facebook, which are among the top companies affected by this new legislation, both expressed their objection. However, while Google concluded agreements with several news companies in Australia, Facebook announced that it will block sharing of content produced by Australian news outlets on its platforms.

Facebook’s announcement spurred major public backlash, accusing Facebook of taking an aggressive step without regard to the effects on its users.

However, days after the initial announcement, Facebook announced that it has reached an agreement with the Australian government regarding changes to the proposed law and will lift the ban on Australian news sharing.

Facebook did not specify what changes were agreed to in the bill, but according to reports, the changes included minimal revisions to the arbitration mechanism set out in the bill. If a social platform fails to reach an agreement with a news outlet, they will have to turn to an arbitrator who will decide what compensation the social platform shall be required to pay. Under the new agreement between Facebook and the Australian government, this mechanism will be invoked only after two months of unsuccessful negotiations. In addition, the Australian government agreed to provide a month’s notice to any platform it deems to be subject to the law.

CLICK HERE to read Facebook’s announcements on this matter.