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Facebook to restore news after reaching an agreement with Australian government

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Facebook has reversed its news ban in Australia and will restore news pages on the platform in the coming days after reaching an agreement with the Australian government.

The news comes five days after Facebook suddenly removed all Australian news content from the popular social media platform in protest of the news media bargaining code which would see the tech giant paying for using news links and content.

Facebook Australia and New Zealand managing director William Easton said in a statement: “We’re pleased that we’ve been able to reach an agreement with the Australian government and appreciate the constructive discussions we’ve had with Treasurer Frydenberg and Minister Fletcher over the past week.

“We have consistently supported a framework that would encourage innovation and collaboration between online platforms and publishers.

“After further discussions, we are satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognize the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them.

“As a result of these changes, we can now work to further our investment in public interest journalism and restore news on Facebook for Australians in the coming days.”

Campbell Brown, Facebook’s VP of global news partnerships also offers a statement after the news ban reversal and said Facebook wouldn’t be subject to “forced negotiation” in the future.

Brown also implied in his comments he would push back against large media conglomerates who do not take into account the “true value exchange between publishers and platforms like Facebook”.

”After further discussions with the Australian government, we have come to an agreement that will allow us to support the publishers we choose to, including small and local publishers,” Brown said.

“We’re restoring news on Facebook in Australia in the coming days.

“Going forward, the government has clarified we will retain the ability to decide if news appears on Facebook so that we won’t automatically be subject to a forced negotiation.

It’s always been our intention to support journalism in Australia and around the world, and we’ll continue to invest in news globally and resist efforts by media conglomerates to advance regulatory frameworks that do not take account of the true value exchange between publishers and platforms like Facebook.”

Facebook says news pages and the ability to share news links on the platform will be restored in the coming days.