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Australia passes law to make Google and Facebook pay for news

February 25, 2021 12:42 pm
Facebook has overturned a decision to block news on its platform in Australia. [Source: BBC]

Australia has passed a world-first law aimed at making Google and Facebook pay for news content on their platforms.

The news code legislation had been fiercely opposed by the US tech giants.

Last week Facebook blocked all news content to Australians over the row but reversed its decision this week after negotiations with the government.

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Following those talks, the law passed with new amendments which make it possible for key aims of the code not to be applied to Facebook and Google.

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenburg earlier this week expressed his disappointment with Facebook’s move.

“Facebook sections were unnecessary they were heavy-handed and they will damage its reputation here in Australia, their decision to block Australians excess to Government sites be they about support through the pandemic mental health emergency services the bureau of meteorology were completely unrelated to media code which is yet to past through the centre.”

However, both companies have now committed to paying lucrative sums to some Australian publishers outside of the code.

These deals have been widely viewed as a compromise by the tech giants.

Australia’s law has been seen as a possible test case for similar regulation in other countries to get digital platforms for news.

The amended legislation was passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday, after earlier going through the Senate.

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