Facebook unblocks Australia news after law amendment

Facebook will reverse its ban on Australian news after Australian government agreed to make further amendments to address the social media giant’s concerns.

Facebook blocked news to Australians since last Thursday in response to a proposed law which would force Google and Facebook to pay news publishers for content.

“The Morrison Government will today introduce further amendments to the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code,” Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in a statement.

“After further discussions, we are satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognise the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them,” Facebook said in a statement.

Facebook’s news ban on Thursday came after Australian government’s push to implement a transfer of power [and money] from Google and Facebook to the media moguls.

Under the bill, large publishers owned by Rupert Murdoch, Kerry Stokes and Peter Costello are eligible for the payment from the tech giants.

The mandatory code has been lobbied for by Murdoch’s News Corp. Murdoch has been one of the Google’s most vocal critics, having previously called for the company to be forcibly broken up.

The code has been described by both Facebook and Google as “unworkable” as it is poorly written, misunderstands how technology works and it essentially requires tech giants to pay to government-nominated news companies to deliver them traffic, ad revenue and subscriptions.

The internationalized showdown with Facebook also turned the spotlight on Murdoch’s influence on Australian government.

As the first witness at a parliamentary inquiry into media diversity on Friday, former prime minister Kevin Rudd talked about his and former Coalition PM Malcolm Turnbull’s fear of Murdoch when they held the nation’s top job.