Facebook to restore news stories in Australia after government agrees to amend bill

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Five days after blocking news from its platform in response to a proposed law requiring tech giants to pay publishers for their content, Facebook Inc has announced it will restore links to news articles in Australia.

Facebook said it had reached a deal with the Australian government to amend the bill, allowing for, among other things, a two-month mediation period to reach deals with publishers before entering an arbitration process if a deal cannot be agreed upon.

The resolution came after talks between Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg over the weekend.

The social-media giant abruptly blocked news articles from its platform last Wednesday in response to the upcoming law, in a move that drew a hail of criticism.

At the time, Facebook said the Australian government “fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it.”

Alphabet’s Google, facing the same regulations, instead made a series of deals with Australian news publishers to comply with the law.

Australia’s Parliament is expected to approve the bill — which is intended to support journalism — soon. Other countries, including Canada, are looking at the Australian model as a roadmap for additional regulation in their countries.

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