News will be back in Australians’ Facebook feeds from Friday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has said.
Speaking to 2GB radio station after the federal government’s contentious media bargaining code passed into law, Mr Frydenberg said the social media giant told him it would reinstate news content on the platform.
Asked when news will be back on the site, Mr Frydenberg replied: “I understand you’ll see some changes from tomorrow, that’s what Facebook has told us.”
He said the company’s decision came after “extensive discussions” with the government.
“We’ve reached a solution and a way forward,” Mr Frydenberg said.
Facebook removed news content – and the content on many government, non-profit and other informational pages – in response to the federal media bargaining code, which aims to force internet giants like Google and Facebook to pay news publishers for generating content that the sites host.
Google previously threatened to prevent Australians from using its search function if the plan went ahead, and Facebook has said the law “fundamentally misunderstands” how its platform interacts with publishers who share news content.
It’s understood both companies were fighting the law so hard because they fear it would set a precedent other countries might follow, demanding that their news businesses, too, get paid for providing content.
Mr Frydenberg acknowledged the law’s global implication in his radio interview.
“There are many eyes who are on us, and this morning I was talking to my Canadian counterpart and we discussed this issue,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“I know that in the UK many politicians have said they want to follow Australia’s lead. The Prime Minister raised the issue with his Indian counterpart, Prime Minister Modi.
“We are now living in this world of a digital revolution, and unless you have this level of regulation in a workable code, then it’s going to be very difficult for sustainable public interest journalism.”
In the government’s view, digital platforms have fundamentally shifted the way media content is produced and accessed.
It says tech giants Google and Facebook wield too much power over the market, benefiting from journalism that appears on their platforms without fairly compensating the outlets that make it.