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Australia and Facebook | Economist

Last week we talked about the negotiations between the Australian regulator and Facebook and Google. This Tuesday, Facebook designed to force tech companies to pay for the media content displayed on their sites after the Australian government issued amendments to a law that would restore Australian news pages.

After the government introduced legislation affecting the interests of Factbook and Alphabet, Facebook last week blocked all news content and several accounts of the state government and the emergency department.

However, over the weekend Josh Friedenberg and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg agreed on the matter.

Australia will provide four amendments, including a change to the mandatory arbitration mechanism used when technology companies are unable to reach an agreement with publishers at a reasonable fee for displaying news content.

“We are pleased that the Australian Government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our primary concerns in the implementation of trade agreements, which acknowledges the value associated with the value we receive from our site publishers,” Facebook said in a statement.

The government agreed to a two-month mediation period before a government-appointed arbitrator intervened, giving the parties more time to reach a private agreement.

It also inserts that the contribution of an Internet company to the “sustainability of the Australian news industry” should be taken into account through existing agreements.

“These amendments will provide greater clarity on how code should work for digital platforms and media outlets, and strengthen the framework for ensuring that media outlets receive fair compensation,” Friedenberg said in a statement.

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Australia had said until Monday that it would not make any further changes to the law.

A spokesman for Nine Entertainment Co, an Australian publisher and broadcaster, welcomed the government’s commitment, saying “Facebook has again moved into negotiations with Australian media outlets.”

A Google spokesman declined to comment.

Rod Sims, head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and chief architect of the law, was not immediately available for comment. In a speech earlier Tuesday, Sims declined to comment on the position, saying he was in front of parliament.

The relevance of this issue worldwide lies in the need to reach agreements between governments and technology companies to achieve a competitive environment, and in the consideration of the rights of companies and users.

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