FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen in front of a displayed Australian flag in this illustration photo taken February 18, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo(REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen in front of a displayed Australian flag in this illustration photo taken February 18, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo(REUTERS)

Reaction to Facebook agreeing a concession deal with Australia on media bill

"Facebook and Google have not hidden the fact that they know that the eyes of the world are on Australia, and that's why they have sought to get a code here that is workable," Josh Frydenberg, Australia's Treasurer said.
Posted by Prashasti Singh | Reuters, Canberra
PUBLISHED ON FEB 23, 2021 02:34 PM IST

Facebook said on Tuesday it would restore Australian news pages after negotiating changes with the government to a proposed law that forces tech giants to pay for media content displayed on their platforms.

Following are comments from Facebook, Australia and analysts:

JOSH FRYDENBERG, AUSTRALIA'S TREASURER

"There is no doubt that Australia has been a proxy battle for the world. I have no doubt that so many other countries are looking at what is happening here in Australia.

"Facebook and Google have not hidden the fact that they know that the eyes of the world are on Australia, and that's why they have sought to get a code here that is workable."

CAMPBELL BROWN, FACEBOOK VICE PRESIDENT OF GLOBAL NEWS PARTNERSHIP

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

"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."

TAMA LEAVER, PROFESSOR OF INTERNET STUDIES AT CURTIN UNIVERSITY, AUSTRALIA

"It's not a draw.

"Even though Facebook managed to cover some concessions and the law is perhaps softer, I still think they were the big losers here simply because of the way that they tried to negotiate over the last week. A lot of Australians are a lot more hesitant to rely on Facebook and in terms of their reputation and their Australian user base they have lost trust.

"The law itself remains untested. It's like a gun that sits in the treasurer's desk that hasn't been used or tested."

PAUL BUDDE, INDEPENDENT INTERNET ANALYST

"Facebook won, as the necessary changes were made to the legislation that avoids them making changes to their business model."

The Australian government was still able to say it "stood up to the giants and that got international attention (but) the digital giants remain as strong as ever."

(Reporting by Colin Packham and Byron Kaye; additional reporting by Renju Jose)

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