It’s welcome news for travel businesses today, after the announcement that Facebook will reinstate Australian ‘news’ pages on its platform after the Morrison government agreed to further amend its mandatory media bargaining code.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg confirmed the last-minute legislative changes on Tuesday afternoon after days of negotiations with the social media behemoth.
“These amendments will provide further clarity to digital platforms and news media businesses about the way the code is intended to operate and strengthen the framework for ensuring news media businesses are fairly remunerated,” he said.
“The government has been advised by Facebook that it intends to restore Australian news pages in the coming days.”
The amendments will give parties more time to broker agreements before they are forced to enter binding arbitration.
The changes also clarify the government’s role in considering commercial deals struck between parties, and give digital platforms one month’s notice before they are formally designated under the code.
Facebook said it was pleased to have reached an agreement with the government after discussions with the treasurer and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher.
“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 recognise the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them,” the company said.
“As a result of these changes, we can now work to further our investment in public interest journalism and restore news on Facebook for Australians in the coming days.”
However, Jacqui Lambie says the code, which will require digital platforms to pay for Australian news, will make media organisations even more dependent on the success of Google and Facebook.
Senator Lambie argues the money generated will simply shift from one set of corporate titans to another.
“Shareholders of News Corp and Nine will be delighted that their dividend is about to be fattened up on the back of shareholders in Facebook and Google,” she told parliament.
Senator Lambie said businesses wanting to advertise online would end up bearing the cost of tech giants paying for news, saying “This is a bipartisan shakedown delivered by a consensus of absolute stupidity.”
As of today, our Karryon page is still down along with our fellow travel media pages, however, it sounds as if our pages being reinstated is not far away.
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