Australian Senate

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook reverses ban on news pages in Australia
Josh Frydenberg
Josh Frydenberg Credit: julian meehan (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and communications minister Paul Fletcher announced on Tuesday a compromise had been reached as the legislation that would force Facebook and Google to pay news publishers for content was being debated in the Senate. Frydenberg said Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg had told him the ban would end "in the coming days" after the pair talked.

Australian authorities will introduce four further amendments, including one that means the government may not apply the code to Facebook if it can demonstrate a "significant contribution" to local journalism.

The proposed law was also seen by some as heavily influenced by the lobbying operations of media mogul Rupert Murdoch's News Corp - which owns many of Australia's major newspapers.

Technology • Internet & Web
Australian government pulls health ads from Facebook after news ban
Facebook logo
Facebook logo Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler – Logo via Facebook (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Australian government in Canberra announced on Sunday that it will no longer run ads on Facebook. The announcement came at the launch of Australia's vaccination campaign against the coronavirus. Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government would advertise vaccinations on the internet, just not on Facebook.

The dispute is triggered by a planned law to regulate the digital news market. The bill had been passed by the Australian lower house last week. The Senate is scheduled to vote on it by the end of this week.

Regional News • Oceania
Google threatens to shut down search in Australia if digital news code goes ahead
Google logo
Google logo Credit: Google

Google has threatened to remove its search engine from Australia and Facebook has threatened to remove news from its feed for all Australian users if a code forcing the companies to negotiate payments to news media companies goes ahead.

The move would mean the 19 million Australians Google users would no longer be able to use Google Search.

At a Senate hearing in Canberra on Friday, Google Australia Managing Director Mel Silva said the draft legislation "remains unworkable," and would be "breaking" the way millions of users searched for content online.