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Facebook is back to talking with Australian authorities over news block

Mariella Moon
·Associate Editor
·1-min read

Facebook hasn't completely unfriended Australia. According to Reuters, the social network is currently in negotiations with Australian authorities, a few days after it blocked users in the country from sharing news links. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced in a news conference that the company has "tentatively friended [the country] again" and that it's "back at the table..." They're expected to hold further talks over the weekend, according to Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg who said he talked to company chief Mark Zuckerberg

The social network prevented Australian publishers and residents from posting or sharing news content a few days ago in response to a proposed law in the country that would require it to pay media outlets for their content. In doing so, however, it also accidentally blocked the Pages of various government agencies and non-profit organizations from posting.

The proposed law has been a point of contention between the Australian government and tech giants like Google and Facebook since last year. Authorities originally wanted to make payments to news outlets voluntary, but they changed the proposed law to make payments mandatory after COVID—19 affected news outlets' ad revenue.

Google dropped its plans to launch curated news in the country and previously said it would disable Search if the proposal goes through. Recently, though, Google signed a three-year agreement to pay for content from News Corp publications. Whether Facebook's talks with the government means it's also open to signing licensing deals remains to be seen.