Following Australia Row, Investment Of $1bn In Local News Industry Pledged By Facebook

Following a truce with the Australian government over a tussle related to the new content law being brought in the country, an investment of at least $1 billion in the news industry in the country over a period of the next three years would be made by the social media company Facebook.

The largest social media platform of the world was at loggerheads protesting against the new law with it preventing Australian users of its platform to view and share news articles last week. This was a retaliation of the social media company against the proposed new law in eth country which is being discussed by the parliament of the country for approval and implementation.

Under the proposed law, tech companies including Facebook and Alphabet owned Google have to sign commercial agreement with local news outlets against the use of news content from these outlets on the online platforms of the tech companies.

On Wednesday, however the two warring parties apparently came to a truce with some amendments to the proposed new law being conceded by the Australian government which apparently pacified Facebook.

One of the major changes to the new law includes the discretion given to the government to decide on the issue of whether the code should be applied to either Facebook or Google if the tech giants make a “significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry.” Under the original draft of the law, both the tech companies had to submit to forced arbitration if they were unable to strike a commercial deal with Australian news companies for sharing of their news content which effectively gave the price setting right to the government.

This investment commitment by the social media giant comes on the heels of a $1 billion investment in the country as announced last year. Tech giants have come under scrutiny all over the world over their business models as well as for the spreading of fake news and misinformation on their platforms.

Following the truce with the Australian government, Australian news pages were restored on its platform by Facebook which brought to an end an unprecedented blackout of news for a week. The global news industry was shocked by the brief blackout. The tech giants and the news industry have been in a tussle for quite some time about how the tech giants use news content on their platforms to fain traction.

The news ban was linked to a “fundamental misunderstanding” of the relationship between the company and news publishers, Facebook said in a blog detailing its version of the showdown.

The company also accepted that some non-news content had been blocked inadvertently while the company had banned all news content.

Facebook has already made investments of $600 million in the news industry since 2018, the social media company said on Wednesday.

Negotiations with news publishers in Germany and France were currently being undertaken by Facebook with the aim of striking deals for payment of content for its news product where headlines and stories next to a personalized news feed will be available to its users, the social media company added.

(Adapted from ChannelNewsAsia.com)

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