Thursday, July 29, 2021

Facebook vs Australia: The Outcome

The war between Facebook and the Australian government is over. Australian news will return to the social media giant’s platform, and it will reach deals to pay newsgroups for their stories. So, who won this titanic battle and how will that play out around the world?

The former boss of Facebook in Australia is pretty clear.

“I’d say Facebook may have blinked a bit here,” Stephen Scheeler told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “I think there’s no question that global backlash against this was pretty stern.

“And I think Facebook probably observed that governments around the world were taking a harder line maybe than they had anticipated.”

Related: Australia to Hold Talks With Zuckerberg After Facebook Block

Australia had support not only from other governments, which wanted to see Mark Zuckerberg’s company taken down a peg. But even from another tech firm that has previously been in regulators’ sights itself. Earlier this month, Microsoft came out in strong support of the new media law.

According to Brad Smith, the legislation will redress the economic imbalance between technology and journalism. By mandating negotiations between these tech gatekeepers and independent news organizations. Cynics might point out it’s not surprising Microsoft backed a law framed specifically to affect two of its biggest rivals.

For its part, Facebook says it’s happy with the amendments to the law. It believes they will put an end to the idea that the government should set the terms of a deal between private companies.

“It gives us the ability to strike commercial deals on terms that make sense which is what we wanted,” says one insider.

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