Facebook began talks with the Australian government on Friday, the day after it blocked media content in Australia on its platform in protest against the social media law passed by Parliament in Canberra.
On Thursday, Facebook decided to block media articles in Australia. It was a protest against a law passed on Wednesday by the lower house of the Australian parliament forcing portals such as Facebook and Google to pay for publishers' content posted on their sites. The law is to introduce a code on negotiations between press publishers and Facebook and Google companies, which will also protect the former from abusing the dominant position of the later.
According to reports from republicworld.com, Facebook began talks with representatives of Australian authorities on Friday to negotiate the bill.
Australia's Treasury (Finance) Minister Josh Frydenberg said he spoke to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that day, who reportedly agreed to talks over the weekend between company officials and Australian officials. The country's prime minister Scott Morrison previously called on Facebook to return to the negotiating table, calling its response and decision "arrogant" and "disappointing."
The law is now waiting for a debate in the Senate.
Facebook on Friday defended its response to the bill, saying the new rules "don't understand" its relationship with media organizations.
CNN Business notes on Friday that Facebook has faced global resistance to "bullying" Australia. The company's decision to block media content in Australia has been rebuked by lawmakers around the world, sparking the specter of a much broader game between the world's largest social media platform and governments and media organizations, the portal points out.
Officials and media publishers in the UK, Canada, Germany and the United States on Thursday condemned Facebook's actions, pointing out that it harmed competition and stressed the need for appropriate regulation.
"This is one of the most idiotic but also deeply disturbing moves by a corporation in our lives," Julian Knight told Sky News, MEP and chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee of the UK Parliament.
David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democratic Congressman who chairs the US House of Representatives subcommittee on antitrust regulation, said that "if it is not yet clear", Facebook's actions in Australia show that the company is "not compatible with democracy." "Threatening to bring the whole country to its knees to agree to Facebook's terms is the ultimate admission of monopoly," he wrote on Twitter.
Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault noted on Twitter that "Facebook's actions are highly irresponsible and have endangered the safety of Australians." "We will continue to move forward to introduce fair legislation between the news media and internet giants," he stressed. (PAP)