Facebook has made us ‘tentatively friendly’, Australia says By Reuters


© Reuters.

By Colin Packham CANBERRA (Reuters) – Facebook Inc (NASDAQ 🙂 is back at the negotiating table, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Saturday after the tech giant blocked news on its site this week. country. Facebook’s abrupt decision to prevent Australians from sharing news on the site and to remove pages from domestic and foreign media also wiped out several state government and emergency department accounts, sparking widespread anger. The company “has tentatively become friends with us,” Morrison told a news conference in Sydney. “What I am pleased about is that Facebook is back at the table.” Facebook has not publicly indicated any changes to its opposition to a proposed law that requires social media platforms to pay for links to news content. Morrison was not asked about that. Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Friday that he had spoken with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and that further talks were expected over the weekend. It was not clear if those talks have taken place. Representatives for Frydenberg did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The showdown comes as Australia agrees to go ahead with landmark legislation, which could set a global precedent as countries like Canada express interest in taking similar action. The Australian law, which would force Facebook and Alphabet (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc’s Google to reach trade deals with Australian publishers or face mandatory arbitration, has been approved by the lower house of parliament and is expected to be approved by the Senate next. week. Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault said Thursday that his country will adopt the Australian approach as it develops its own legislation in the coming months. Google, which initially threatened to shut down its search engine in Australia, announced a series of preemptive license agreements over the past week, including a global agreement with News Corp (NASDAQ :). Facebook’s move had an immediate impact on traffic to new Australian sites, according to early data from New York-based analytics firm Chartbeat. Total traffic to Australian news sites from various platforms fell from the day before the ban by around 13% within the country.

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