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Facebook restores news pages in Australia

It has been reassured in recent discussions with government that Facebook will have the right to decide if news content appears on Facebook.

Facebook announced on Tuesday that it will resume the news content for Australia after reaching an agreement with Australian government.

Since last Thursday the social media giant blocked the news content to Australians on its platform over a row with government over forcing it to pay news publishers for content.

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg had told him the ban would end “in the coming days”, after the pair had talks.

Frydenberg assured the law would be amended.

“Facebook has re-friended Australia,” he told reporters in Canberra.

Facebook said it has been reassured in recent discussions with government that it will have the right to decide if news content appears on Facebook.

Campbell Brown, vice president of global news partnerships at Facebook said,

“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 forced negotiation”.

“We have come to an agreement that will allow us to support the publishers we choose to, including small and local publishers”,

Campbell Brown said.

Facebook already has its own “showcase” product – Facebook News Tab – through which it pays media organizations a fee to display their stories on its platform. This feature however, is only available in the UK and US.

The Australian users had been blocked by Facebook from sharing and viewing the news content on the website last week. The backlash came in response to the proposed law which would make tech giants pay for news content on social media platforms.

Facebook made the decision of banning the news content after Australian authorities had drawn up the laws to “level the playing field” between the tech giants and struggling publishers over profits.

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