In Australia, the antitrust officer claimed political victory on Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg sees it differently.
Facebook blocked all news pages on its platform last Wednesday. It was in response to Australia’s bill for making platforms like Facebook and Google pay news outlets for news snippets (short summaries). But that block was short-lived. On Monday, politicians have already reached an agreement with the social network site.
‘Strike a deal’
Rod Sims, chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), sees this as a political victory. Sims is responsible for antitrust policy. He told CNBC he was “extremely pleased” with the amended legislation that has been on the table in the Australian Parliament this week. “This is an important step in keeping the Australian media sector alive and diverse. It is an essential part of our society and democracy. The new law will repair the power imbalance between news media and the major digital platforms. Australian news outlets can now negotiate a fair deal over the use of their news,” he said Sims.
Facebook is also claiming victory
As a result of the negotiated agreement, the stringent terms set out previously became somewhat milder. Facebook doesn’t want to see the deal as a defeat. Global News Partnerships Vice Chairman Campbell Brown said in a statement on Tuesday that the social media site can now support news publishers they want.
“The government has made it clear that from now on we will be able to exercise the right to determine what news appears on Facebook. That way we don’t automatically end up in forced negotiations,” Brown says. “Our goal has always been to support journalism in Australia and around the world. So we will continue to invest in news around the world. At the same time, we want to continue to resist media companies that want to impose regulations that do not take into account the true value of an exchange with platforms like Facebook, Brown reflects logic.
As is often the case, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. What is certain is that both parties appear to agree with the new regulations. It will become clear if this is the end of the long-running debate in the coming weeks.