Facebook is to end its blockade of Australian news articles on its news feed after coming to an understanding with the Australia government over their spat on paying news outlets for content.
“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,“ said Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president for global news partnerships in a statement.
“It’s always been our intention to support journalism in Australia and around the world.“
Facebook last week blocked almost all Australian news on its platform to protest a proposed law that would oblige digital platforms to compensate media outlets for online content, inadvertently also blocking access to government information pages.
In response, Australia’s health department has confirmed it will no longer advertise on Facebook, seeking to hit the platform where it hurts.
This means Facebook will lose out on Australia’s US$20m public information campaign, designed to convince Australians to get vaccinated and to counter anti-vaccine sentiment.
Will Easton, Facebook managing director for Australia, said the previously blocked pages would be restored over the next few days.
Facebook’s stance had also been shared by Google, which acted by blocking Australian news providers from its search results of 1% of Australians.
However, Google has already conceded, after agreeing to pay for content Australian media behemoth News Corp
What have they agreed?
Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg and communications minister Paul Fletcher announced a deal on Tuesday (23 February) on its media bargaining code
The Australian government has said it may not apply the code to Facebook, if it can prove it has cut enough deals similar to its News Corp agreement, with other publishers.
The government also agreed to give digital platforms a month's notice prior to deciding whether to apply the code.