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Facebook to restore news content in Australia after govt agrees to amendments

The Australian government has blinked first. Facebook has negotiated amendments to Australia's controversial "media bargaining code", and has agreed to restore news content for Australian users in the coming days. In a blogpost, Facebook said the Australian government has agreed to a number of amendments to the Media Bargaining Code following negotiations, and guaranteed to address the company's core concerns "about allowing commercial deals that recognize the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them". Campbell Brown, VP, Global News Partnerships, said that the Australian government had clarified that tech company will not have to pay for news. Brown said negotiations took place between Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, and Mark Zuckerberg, reported the Sydney Morning Herald. According to publication, the last-minute amendments include a two-month mediation period that would give news publishers and Facebook more time to negotiate commercial deals. If a deal is struck, Facebook would not have to enter a forced arbitration under the Code, where it would have to agree to a binding offer set by an arbiter. "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," Brown said. “Facebook has refriended Australia. Australian news will be restored to the Facebook platform, and Facebook has committed to entering into good-faith negotiations with Australian news media businesses and seeking to reach agreements to pay for content,” Frydenberg said on Tuesday. Last…

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