Facebook says it will restore the ability of Australian users to share links to news articles following a new deal with local government.
The deal, which gives Facebook and Canberra two more months to negotiate, ends a period of nearly a week in which Facebook users in Australia were unable to access or share news on the platform. -form.
Facebook had restricted news sharing in response to impending legislation that would have required it to let an independent adjudicator determine the amount of compensation it should give publishers for linking to their stories. Users could not share links or access news from Australian or international media.
The new deal includes changes that give Facebook more control over how it pays publishers. “Going forward, the government has made it clear that we will retain the ability to decide whether information appears on Facebook so that we are not automatically forced into negotiation,” said Campbell Brown, head of Facebook press partnerships, in a press release.
“The current arrangements allow more flexibility for digital platforms and now encourage publishers to enter into commercial deals rather than rush to arbitration,” Facebook spokesman Adam Isserlis told NBC News. “Arbitration is a real last resort.”
Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the amendments “will strengthen the hand of regional publishers and small publishers to secure appropriate compensation for the use of their content by digital platforms.”
Facebook’s handling of the situation differs from Google’s. The search giant recently announced several multi-million dollar deals with Australian publishers to avoid running up against looming legislation.
Google also said last week that it had reached a three-year deal with News Corp. to pay them for their content around the world, not just in Australia.