Following the Australian Government’s action towards making changes to its proposed Media Bargaining Code, Facebook has announced its agreement to restore the Pages of Australian news publishers on its platform. The company is getting more time to negotiate separate deals with publishers and as a result, it would be able to launch Facebook News in the region.
“After further discussions, we are satisfied that the government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognize the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them," Facebook said in a statement about the new agreement.
A total of four amendments have been made to the Australian Government’s proposed code, among which, the main addition suggests that "A decision to designate a platform under the code must take into account whether a digital platform has made a significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry through reaching commercial agreements with news media businesses."
In addition to that, the updated code suggests that a platform will be given two months to negotiate commercial agreements with publishers before it's forced into arbitration on a payment agreement. This means that Facebook has two months to establish a satisfactory level of commercial agreements with Australian news publishers, and the Government will then judge whether they're significant enough for the company to be exempt under the code.
There is still no certainty around the amount that Facebook needs to pay, or the number of local media groups it must establish commercial agreements with. The amendments, nevertheless, have given the social media company a direction in terms of reinstating news content on its platform and moving forward with that.