Facebook Restores News Pages to Australia

February 25, 2021 Updated: February 25, 2021

Facebook has restored news to its platform after reaching a deal with the federal government on Australia’s world-first news media bargaining code.

Facebook pages for News Corp and Nine newspapers, TV networks, ABC, and SBS were restored on Friday morning, less than a day after the news media bargaining code passed Parliament.

The government agreed to change the code after the tech giant banned Australian users from accessing news.

Google struck deals worth millions of dollars with news organisations before the code comes into force.

Facebook on Friday announced it had signed letters of intent with smaller publishers Private Media, Schwartz Media and Solstice Media.

Seven West Media has a similar arrangement, while Facebook is in negotiations with other outlets.

Under the code, the treasurer can designate platforms that would then be forced to pay for news content after arbitration.

Facebook last week pulled news in Australia before a tense stand-off with the government ended on Wednesday.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he was pleased with the outcome despite having to make changes to the original bill.

“What’s clear to us is that what has transpired in recent weeks in Australia has very much been a proxy battle for the world with major global ramifications,” he told Sky News. “If this was so easy other countries would have done it long ago.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison discussed the issue with his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga overnight.

By Matt Coughlan