Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says Facebook will reverse news ban

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• “The government has been advised by Facebook that it intends to restore Australian news pages in the coming days”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has said that Facebook will reverse its ban on Australian news sites after the government and the tech giant reached an agreement.

“The government has been advised by Facebook that it intends to restore Australian news pages in the coming days,” Frydenberg said.

In a statement, he said the government would make further amendments to the news media bargaining code which was the catalyst for the news ban.

Facebook said in a statement that it was “satisfied” with the government’s changes.

“[We] appreciate the constructive discussions we’ve had with Treasurer Frydenberg and Minister Fletcher over the past week,” it said.

“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 recognise the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them.

“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.”

In August 2020 Facebook threatened it would reluctantly stop allowing publishers and people in Australia to share local and international news on Facebook and Instagram if proposals to introduce the Media Bargaining law continued.

On February 18th, Will Eastman, managing director of Facebook Australia and New Zealand, explained that the threat was to become a reality as Facebook restricted publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content.

Eastman explained: “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. With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter.”

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