Facebook Inc. said Tuesday it will restore the ability of Australian users to view and share news on the social media platform in the coming days, after the Australian government announced amendments to legislation that would require tech giants to pay for news content.
On Thursday, Facebook abruptly prevented Australian users from viewing and sharing domestic and international news in response to the proposed law, sparking a widespread backlash from the Australian public and politicians.
"We're pleased that we've been able to reach an agreement with the Australian government," Facebook said in a statement, adding that it is "satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns."
In a joint statement with communications minister Paul Fletcher, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the government will introduce four amendments to a media bargaining code the Australian parliament is currently debating, including providing advance notice to a digital platform if it is included under the code.
"Facebook has committed to entering into good-faith negotiations with Australian news media businesses and seeking to reach agreements to pay for content," Frydenberg said at a press conference in Canberra.
The treasurer thanked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for the "constructive nature of the discussions" between the two parties, adding, "Facebook has re-friended Australia, and Australian news will be restored to the Facebook platform."
Last week's sudden news content block by the U.S. technology giant caused an uproar in Australia. Also caught up in the block were public service accounts that are unrelated to news media, including multiple state government health accounts, as well as domestic violence support services.
Google, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., will also be affected by the legislation. Several large Australian news companies including News Corp Australia have independently struck content deals with Google to be included in the tech giant's News Showcase platform.
The media bargaining code was proposed by the government-run Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which found after a monthslong investigation that the two U.S. tech giants hold too much power in the Australian media market.