Facebook has now recently “unblocked” Australia, following a ban due to Australia’s new Media Bargaining law. Users in Australia can continue to share and view Australian and international news content.
Facebook Australia and New Zealand’s Managing Director, William Easton, stated that the company has discussed a number of changes to the proposed Media Bargaining law and some guarantees with the Australian government. Facebook deemed the fruits of the discussion as satisfactory as it addressed the company’s core concerns about “allowing commercial deals that recognise the value [Facebook] provides to publishers relative to the value [the company] receive from them.”
The restrictions were initially imposed due to the proposed new law fundamentally misunderstanding the relationship between their platform and publishers who use Facebook to publish their content.
Facebook and Google once called for the scrapping of the proposed law in January 2021, as it forced tech giants like Facebook to pay Australian media companies for using their content. It came from a set of recommendations from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s 2019 digital platforms inquiry. This inquiry found tech giants to be taking an unreasonable share of online advertising revenue even though their content came from media organisations.
Google was the first to accept the law through a roundabout way with its launch of Google News Showcase. Kate Beddoe, Head of News, Web & Publishing Product Partnerships, APAC at Google, mentioned that Google News Showcase will benefit users and publishers in Australia and that the product is designed to provide a licensing program that pays publishers to curate content for story panels across Google services and “give readers more insights into the stories that matter.”
Written by John Paul Joaquin