sunny.png
Saturday July 24th, 2021 4:22PM

Unfriended no more: Facebook to lift Australia news ban

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Facebook announced Tuesday that it would lift a ban on Australians viewing and sharing news on its platform after it struck a deal with the government on proposed legislation that would make digital giants pay for journalism.

The social media company caused alarm with its sudden decision last week to block news on its platform across Australia after the House of Representatives passed the draft law. Initially, the blackout also cut access — at least temporarily — to government pandemic, public health and emergency services, fueling outrage.

Facebook’s cooperation is a major victory in Australia's efforts to make two major gateways to the internet, Google and Facebook, pay for the journalism that they use — a faceoff that governments and tech companies the world over have watched closely. Google also had threatened to remove its search functions from Australia because of the proposed law, but that threat has faded.

“There is no doubt that Australia has been a proxy battle for the world,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

“Facebook and Google have not hidden the fact that they know that the eyes of the world are on Australia, and that is why they have sought to get a code here that is workable,” he added, referring to the bill, the News Media Bargaining Code.

In fact, this week, Microsoft and four European publishing groups announced they would work together to push for Australian-style rules for news payments from tech platforms.

The legislation was designed to curb the outsized bargaining power of Facebook and Google in their negotiations with Australian news providers. The digital giants would not be able to abuse their positions by making take-it-or-leave-it payment offers to news businesses for their journalism. Instead, in the case of a standoff, an arbitration panel would make a binding decision on a winning offer.

Frydenberg and Facebook confirmed that the two sides agreed to amendments to the proposed legislation. The changes would give digital platforms one month’s notice before they are formally designated under the code. That would give those involved more time to broker agreements before they are forced to enter binding arbitration arrangements.

A statement Tuesday by Campbell Brown, Facebook's vice president for news partnerships, added that the deal allows the company to choose which publishers it will support, including small and local ones.

“We’re restoring news on Facebook in Australia in the coming days. Going forward, the government has clarified we will retain the ability to decide if news appears on Facebook so that we won’t automatically be subject to a forced negotiation," Brown said.

Frydenberg described the agreed upon amendments as “clarifications” of the government's intent. He said his negotiations with Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg were “difficult.”

A European publishers' lobbying group that is among those teaming up with Microsoft said the deal shows such legislation is possible — and not just in Australia.

“The latest twist proves that regulation works," said Angela Mills Wade, executive director of the European Publishers Council. "Regulators from around the world will be reassured that they can continue to take inspiration from the Australian government’s determination to withstand unacceptable threats from powerful commercial gatekeepers.”

Facebook said it would now negotiate deals with Australian publishers.

“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,” Facebook regional managing director William Easton said.

“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, ” Easton added.

Google, meanwhile, has been signing up Australia’s largest media companies in content-licensing deals through its News Showcase. The platform says it has deals with more than 50 Australian titles and more than 500 publishers globally using the model, which was launched in October.

Peter Lewis, director of the Australia Institute’s Center for Responsible Technology, a think tank, said in a statement that the “amendments keep the integrity of the media code intact.”

However, others took a more skeptical stance. Jeff Jarvis, a journalism expert from the City University of New York, said media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, who owns most of Australia’s major newspapers through his U.S-based News Corp., is the biggest winner while smaller titles and new media startups would suffer most.

Jarvis said Murdoch’s media empire was the driving force behind the Australian legislation, which he noted includes a requirement for media companies to earn at least 150,000 Australian dollars ($119,000) in revenue to be eligible.

“So a startup which has no revenue has no real recourse,” Jarvis said, adding that even if Facebook and Google open payment talks with smaller companies, “clearly a smaller player has less clout than a bigger player, than a News Corp.”

___

Associated Press writer Kelvin Chan contributed to this report from London.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business, AP Technology News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Unfriended no more: Facebook to lift Australia news ban
Facebook says it will lift a ban on Australians viewing and sharing news on its platform after it struck a deal with the government on proposed legislation that would make digital giants pay for journalism
8:02AM ( 25 minutes ago )
BLM in Italian Fashion campaign shows early tangible results
A digital runway show by five Italian fashion designers of African origin opens Milan Fashion Week, one tangible result of a campaign launched last summer by the only Black Italian designer belonging to the Italian fashion chamber
7:59AM ( 29 minutes ago )
World Bank might suspend financing of vaccines to Lebanon
The World Bank has threatened to suspend financing for coronavirus vaccines in Lebanon over violations by members of parliament and others it said were inoculated without registering in advance
7:38AM ( 49 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
A year on, India's riot victims say justice still unserved
As the first anniversary of bloody communal riots that convulsed the Indian capital approaches, Muslim victims are still shaken and struggling to make sense of their struggle to seek justice
7:08AM ( 1 hour ago )
Wife of drug kingpin El Chapo arrested on US drug charges
The wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been arrested in the United States and is accused of helping her husband run his multibillion-dollar cartel and plot his audacious escape from a Mexican prison in 2015
7:02AM ( 1 hour ago )
Judge hearing dispute over proper venue in Flint water case
A judge plans to hear arguments in a dispute over whether Flint water prosecutors charged a former Michigan governor in the wrong county
6:01AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Facebook says it will lift its Australian news ban soon
Facebook says it will lift its ban on Australians sharing news after reaching a deal with Australia’s government on legislation that would make digital giants pay for journalism
2:28AM ( 6 hours ago )
What NY prosecutors could learn from Trump's tax records
Manhattan's district attorney fought for a year and a half to get access to former President Donald Trump’s tax records
1:04AM ( 7 hours ago )
Ahmaud Arbery memorialized in Georgia a year after slaying
Few outside the Georgia port city of Brunswick paid notice in the days and weeks after Ahmaud Arbery was pursued and shot to death by white men who saw him running in their neighborhood
1:01AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Online National News
The Latest: Germany extends border checks to battle variants
Germany is extending strict checks on its borders with the Czech Republic and Austria’s Tyrol province until March 3
6:33AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Egypt gets Sinopharm vaccines donated by China
Egypt’s health ministry says the country has received a 300,000 doses of the Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine donated by China
6:06AM ( 2 hours ago )
GOP working to block Biden's health care pick; Dems unfazed
President Joe Biden’s pick for health secretary is facing two days of contentious Senate hearings
5:33AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
EPA changes stand, sides with ethanol industry in court case
The federal government announced Monday that it will support the ethanol industry in a lawsuit over biofuel waivers granted to oil refineries under President Donald Trump’s administration
6:45PM ( 13 hours ago )
Garland vows sharp focus on Capitol riot as attorney general
Merrick Garland is vowing to prioritize combating extremist violence with an initial focus on the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol if he is confirmed as attorney general in President Joe Biden's administration
6:31PM ( 13 hours ago )
Key senators oppose Biden budget pick, confirmation at risk
A moderate Republican, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, has joined Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah in saying he'll vote against confirming President Joe Biden’s nominee for budget director
6:24PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
In a year of pandemic, Home Depot was supplier to millions
The Home Depot’s fiscal fourth-quarter sales surged 25% as the home improvement chain continues to meet the demands of consumers stuck at home and a resilient housing market
6:50AM ( 1 hour ago )
Global shares mixed amid vaccine optimism, US tech sell-off
Global markets are mixed after a sell-off of shares in technology companies on Wall Street
4:07AM ( 4 hours ago )
UK unemployment rate rises for 6th straight month
The U.K. unemployment rate rose for a six straight month in December as renewed coronavirus restrictions shut down most businesses across the country
3:52AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business
Huawei unveils flagship foldable smartphone for China market
Struggling under U.S. sanctions, Chinese tech giant Huawei has unveiled a new flagship foldable smartphone but says it will only be sold in China
7:38PM ( 12 hours ago )
Microsoft, EU publishers seek Australia-style news payments
Microsoft is teaming up with European publishers to push for a system to make big tech platforms pay for news
10:48AM ( 21 hours ago )
Fukushima nuclear plant operator: Seismometers were broken
The operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant says two seismometers at one of its three melted reactors have been out of order since last year and did not collect data when a powerful earthquake struck the area earlier this month
10:23AM ( 22 hours ago )
AP Technology News
BLM in Italian Fashion campaign shows early tangible results
A digital runway show by five Italian fashion designers of African origin opens Milan Fashion Week, one tangible result of a campaign launched last summer by the only Black Italian designer belonging to the Italian fashion chamber
7:59AM ( 29 minutes ago )
World Bank might suspend financing of vaccines to Lebanon
The World Bank has threatened to suspend financing for coronavirus vaccines in Lebanon over violations by members of parliament and others it said were inoculated without registering in advance
7:38AM ( 50 minutes ago )
South African ex-president's corruption trial set for May
Former South African president Jacob Zuma’s corruption trial is set to begin in May, more than 16 years after he was first implicated in the graft allegations
7:36AM ( 52 minutes ago )
Thousands of students rally in Greece against new police law
More than 5,000 university students and other protesters have gathered outside a courthouse in Greece’s second-largest city to rally against a new campus security law
7:34AM ( 54 minutes ago )
Congo, Italy dispatch investigators into ambassador's death
Congo has dispatched a team to support investigators on the ground in Goma where the Italian ambassador to Congo, an Italian Carabinieri police officer and their driver were ambushed and killed Monday
7:30AM ( 58 minutes ago )