Australia’s Regulator Is “Extremely Pleased” With Facebook Deal

Australia’s antitrust chief on Wednesday, February 24, claimed a victory over Facebook in a digital news battle that captivated the media world over the last week, reported CNBC.

Facebook blocked news pages a week ago Wednesday after the Australian government announced it was going to introduce a new law that would require Facebook to pay publishers for linking to their stories. The ban was short-lived, however, with Facebook cutting a deal with the Australian government on Monday that will see it restore news pages to its platform. Through that deal, some of the proposed legislation was amended and reportedly watered down.

Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and architect of Australia’s media reforms, said in a statement that the commission is “extremely pleased” to see the amended legislation, dubbed the news media bargaining code, progressing through Australian Parliament this week.

“This is a significant step in maintaining a vibrant and diverse Australian news media sector which is essential for our society and democracy,” said Sims.

“The code will address a significant bargaining power imbalance between Australian news media businesses and major digital platforms,” he added. “With the code and its arbitration mechanism in place, the platforms have an incentive to offer fair payment for their use of news content, and Australian news businesses can negotiate commercial deals knowing a backup is in place should negotiations stall.”

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