Social Media

Facebook has “ tentatively friend us again”: Australian PM

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on February 20, 2021

(FILE PHOTO) Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison   -  REUTERS

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that Facebook is back at the negotiation table after the tech giant blocked news sites on the platform this week.

“I’m pleased Facebook has decided, it would seem, to tentatively friend us again and get those discussions going again ... to ensure that the protections we want to put in place to ensure we have a free and democratic society that is supported by an open news media can continue,” Morrison told reporters on Saturday.

Facebook earlier this week announced its decision to block the sharing of news links on the platform following a new media bargaining code proposed by the Australian Government which will require the tech giant to pay for news shared on its platform.

“The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content. It has left us facing a stark choice: attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter,” William Easton, Managing Director, Facebook Australia & New Zealand wrote in a blog post.

The restrictions will impact Australian as well as international publications. The social media major however drew flak as the block also impacted government accounts and health sites.

Senior Facebook Asia-Pacific executive Simon Milner on Friday apologised for the same, as per the Guardian report. Facebook which initially said that it had no choice but to shut those pages down later pledged to reverse bans on pages impacted inadvertently due to the ban, as per the report.

Josh Frydenberg, the Australian treasurer spoke to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on Friday morning and will talk again over the weekend. Australian authorities remain convinced to get tech giants to follow the code.

“My job now is to ensure we get on with those discussions, that we bring them to a successful conclusion,” Morrison said.

“The Australian government’s position is very clear, people would know the strong support being provided internationally for Australia’s position,” he said.

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Published on February 20, 2021
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