Facebook will restore news pages on its site in Australia in the coming days after the government has agreed to amend the News Media Bargaining Code. This comes very soon after the company stopped users in Australia from sharing links to Australian news pages on its platform.
The social media site had been threatening to carry out this action since the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code was proposed. It requires companies like Google and Facebook to pay publishers for hosting their news. Although opposed to the idea, Google eventually decided to make nice with news agencies, while the latter elected to go ahead with the ban.
Now, facing international backlash, Facebook has started restoring news on its platform in Australia. Campbell Brown, Vice President of Global News Partnerships at the company, says that this is will be happening over the next few days.
Not long after Facebook banned Australian news sources on its platform, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s ABC News app shot to the top of Apple’s App Store charts in Australia. Meanwhile, even international news sources normally accessible by Australian users were accidentally affected by the move.
Facebook objected to the media bargaining code on the grounds that publishers themselves share their links on the social media site, earning ad revenue when users click on them and are redirected to their news page where they’re served advertisements and/or subscription offers.
Apparently, approximately 5.1 billion free referrals to Australian publishers worth an estimated AU$407 million was made possible by Facebook owing to this. The company also took pains to point out that the bargaining code would be more suitable to a product like Google Search on which news agencies and publishers do not voluntarily serve their content.
The reversal in its decision to ban Australian news sources from its site comes after Facebook was allowed the chance to negotiate agreements with publishers instead of being forced into deals with them.