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Facebook to restore news pages in Australia, government to amend media bargaining code

The managing director of Facebook Australia, Will Easton said that as a result of these changes, the company can now work to further our investment in public interest journalism, and restore news on Facebook for Australians in the coming days.

Facebook on Tuesday has announced that it will restore news content to its users in Australia after the government agreed to amend a world-first media law  opposed by the tech giant.

The news pages would be restored on Facebook in the coming days, the amendments would be made to the news media bargaining code, said Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in a statement.

The agreement has been reached between Facebook and Australian government on key aspects of a law that would force digital giants to pay news companies for content. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison-led government has introduced a last minute change to the code that includes a two-month period to allow digital platforms and publishers to broker deals before they are made to enter arbitration as a last resort. The proposed code is in Parliament which is expected to be voted into law soon. 

Facebook in a statement said that it appreciated the constructive discussion it had with Treasurer Frydenberg and Communications Paul Fletcher over the past week. 

The social media giant was satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognise the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them.

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The managing director of Facebook Australia, Will Easton said that as a result of these changes, the company can now work to further our investment in public interest journalism, and restore news on Facebook for Australians in the coming days. 

The social media giant had imposed a contentious ban on Australian news pages in response to a proposed law which would make the platform and Google pay news publishers for content. In the ban, a number of non-news pages were also swept up including community organisations and Bureau of Meteorology.

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