Facebook ‘Refriends’ Australia After Government Loosens Up Key Regulations

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Matthew Wearp Contributor
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Facebook will reverse a week-long ban of Australian news content after gaining key concessions from the government on a law that would require social media platforms to pay media organizations for any content they distribute, according to Reuters.

The Australian government introduced the legislation Feb. 15, which was aimed at forcing Facebook and Google to pay companies for news content, and amid widespread government support, the bill is expected to pass later this week. In response to the legislation, Facebook blocked users in Australia from sharing any news on their platform, Reuters reported.

The move lead to widespread backlash around the world and following the decision, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison accused Facebook of deciding to “unfriend” Australia, according to CBS. (RELATED: Big Tech Employees Donated More To Biden’s Campaign Than Any Other Sector)

Following the blackout on news content, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Australian government officials engaged in discussions to try and reach an agreement, and after talks between Zuckerberg and Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, a deal was reached and Australian news will return to Facebook in the next few days, according to Reuters.

“Facebook has refriended Australia, and Australian news will be restored to the Facebook platform,” Frydenberg said, according to Reuters.

Will Easton, the managing director of Facebook in Australia, echoed this, saying that the deal would allow the company to restore Australian user’s access to news on the platform in the near future, according to CBS.

“As a result of these changes, we can now work to further our investment in public interest journalism, and restore news on Facebook for Australians in the coming days.”


The key concessions obtained by Facebook include the government factoring in any commercial deals Google and Facebook reach with news companies before determining if they are subject to the law and giving the platform more time to reach deals with news publishers about content, according to Bloomberg. (RELATED: Here’s What We Know About Clubhouse, The New App That’s Dominating Social Media)

“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,” Campbell Brown, Facebook’s Vice President of Global News Partnerships said in a statement, according to Reuters.