Facebook befriends Australia again, after reaching an agreement with the Canberra government on a new law

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Social media company Facebook said on Tuesday it would restore Australian news on its platform, after reaching an agreement with the Canberra government on a new law that will force big tech companies to pay for news. Facebook last week had blocked Australian users from sharing and using news on its site, in protest against the government bill. Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg have since negotiated a compromise on what Facebook called “a series of changes and guarantees” that address the group’s concerns. The changes notably involve the arbitration schedule that will be used if tech groups fail to reach an agreement with news publishers. The mandatory mechanism will now only be activated after a mediation period of two months. Tech giant Google GOOGL, -1.05% has already signed a series of agreements to pay for news on its own platform, including a historic global agreement with News Corp NWSA, -0.56% that includes the company’s Australian newspapers. (News Corp owns MarketWatch, the publisher of this report.) Facebook FB, + 0.78% “has returned to Australia,” and both he and Google have searched for a “workable” code because “they know the eyes of the world” are on the country, Frydenberg said Tuesday. The outlook: The deal with the Australian government gives Facebook a way out to save face from a complicated public relations situation, after the backlash sparked last week by its Australian boycott. The question now is whether Australian law will serve as a model for other countries or regions of the world.