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Facebook Re-Friends Australia As Government Amends News-Revenue-Sharing Bill

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) will restore news pages it suspended in Australia in the coming days after it reached a deal with the country’s government.

What Happened: The Mark Zuckerberg-led company said in a statement Monday that it was able to reach an agreement with Australia’s government and appreciated the constructive talks it held with Treasurer Joshua Frydenberg and Minister Paul Fletcher over the past week.

“After further discussions, we are satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognize the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them,” said Facebook.

Why It Matters: Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has made last-minute changes to a proposed law that would make it binding on tech companies to negotiate with media publishers and compensate them for content, reported the New York Times.

The law was primarily applicable to Facebook and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL). 

The amendments reportedly include a two-month mediation period, which will give both sides more time to negotiate on commercial deals.

“Going forward, 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,” said Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president of global news partnerships, as per the Times.

Last week, Facebook had wiped its feeds clean off of Australian media, which also affected government accounts that provide information on the pandemic and other emergencies.

Price Action: Facebook shares closed nearly 0.5% lower at $260.33 on Monday and gained 0.25% in the after-hours session.

© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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