• The Facebook News Ban in Australia
  • News-Only Product Coming Soon
  • In Talks with Local Companies

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A dispute between social media giant Facebook and the Australian government in February has led it to ban news from its platform, making it impossible for Aussies to find news online through the website for a few days.

Nevertheless, the ban ended after a few days.

The Facebook News Ban in Australia

According to a previous report, the ban is a response to a proposed law wherein Facebook and another internet giant, Google, would be forced to pay the news publishers for their content, with both companies arguing that the legislation does not fully understand how the internet works.

Moreover, Facebook also said that they are gaining “little commercial gain” from such types of content.

The tech companies have negotiated with the parliament to revise the code, and the government relented, especially after Facebook’s decision to ban the news for a few days.

Not many were happy with the ban, especially as the move also affected some government health-department and other emergency services, which was a big risk since the world is currently facing a global health crisis.

News-Only Product Coming Soon

After the whole fiasco, the social media platform has recently announced that it would be launching a news service in Australia by the end of the year, with executives denying all allegations that they “tried to intimidate” the Australian parliament during the negotiations with regards to the code.

The service would be a news-only product that would be available to everyone in the country once it is published by the internet behemoth.

Currently, Facebook already has the News Tab available on its platform, wherein news entities pay the company to have their content on the tab, but as of now, the feature is only available for Facebook users in the United States as well as in the United Kingdom.

Simon Milner, Facebook’s vice president of policy for the Asia Pacific region was met with various questions regarding the news ban during a Senate inquiry. Milner was asked if the company intimidated the parliament, to which he answered, “Absolutely not.”

“There were certainly errors in our enforcement for which we're truly sorry,” Mia Garlick, the social media’s director of policy in Australia, said during the inquiry.

In Talks with Local Companies

According to reports, the company founded by Mark Zuckerberg has not been designated by the code yet, and instead, it is currently working to sign a deal with Australian news companies, including Seven, Private Media, News Corp, Sky News, Schwartz Media, and Solstice Media.

However, it seems like the company is talking to more companies in hopes of signing a deal with them by this year, but Milner and Garlick did not disclose exactly how many other companies they are talking with and how much each deal is worth.

Nevertheless, Garlick did say that the deals they are hoping to have signed would be three-year contracts with the companies.

The imminent release of the news-only product in Australia could be Facebook’s move to answer the revision in the code, which states that it would be exempted from the code if it demonstrates a “significant contribution” to journalism in the country.