Following an extensive period of controversy and heated debate, Facebook has officially scored a victory over the Australian government, the social media giant announced earlier this week that an agreement had been reached with authorities which will enable Facebook to continue making its own decisions about which news stories and publishers are featured on its platform.
This means that with immediate notice, Australian users of Facebook will once again have access to Australian news links and posts.
Australian News Ban Rescinded by Facebook
The controversy kicked off just over a week ago when Facebook announced the immediate ban of new stories and links for Australian Facebook members.
In a statement, the company said that the decision had been reached in order to avoid being controlled by a law that would force Facebook to pay to Australian News organizations for sharing links on Facebook and subsequently profiting from them.
Having now reached a compromise, the VP of Global News Partnerships for Facebooks Campbell Brown, said that it had always been the intention of the company to support journalists and news outlets in Australia.
An extract from Facebook’s statement:
“After further discussions with the Australian government, we have come to an agreement that will allow us to support the publishers we choose to, including small and local publishers.
Weare restoring news on Facebook in Australia.
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.
It’s always been our intention to support journalism in Australia and around the world, and we’ll continue to invest in news globally and resist efforts by media conglomerates to advance regulatory frameworks that do not take account of the true value exchange between publishers and platforms like Facebook.”
It had been alleged that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp which is known as one of the largest and most powerful media companies in Australia; was primarily responsible for the attempts of the government to take action against Facebook and Google on behalf of the countries news outlets.
“News Corp has successfully lobbied the government. A compulsory code being created to make Google and Facebook pay for the use of news content is just one example of an issue News Corp lobbied hard for,” read an extract of the report published in the Sydney Morning Herald.
A government representative stated that the new legislation had been drawn up as a means by which to preserve and protect local journalism. When further analysis was conducted, it was agreed that news organizations in Australia should be given the right to spend their money in any way they like, without government intervention.
The Australian government backed down after a week of major controversy represents an unexpected victory for Facebook, over an attempt to introduce legislation that could have set a dangerous precedent in other countries worldwide.