Australia and Facebook in talks again: ‘Friendship for the time being’ | NOW



After the fight earlier this week, the Australian government and Facebook are back in talks. The tech giant has returned to the negotiating table, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at a press conference on Saturday.

Facebook has “made friends with us again for now,” Morrison told a news conference in Sydney. “I am so happy that Facebook is back at the table.”

Australian Treasury Secretary Josh Frydenberg said on Friday that he had spoken to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and more talks will take place this weekend. A spokesperson for Facebook did not want to say anything about it.

Australia and Facebook have been at odds for some time. The Australian government introduced a bill for a new code of conduct at the end of last year that would require Facebook and Google to pay for links to news articles.

Facebook does not agree with the plans and made it impossible for Australians to view or share news via the social medium on Wednesday. News organizations outside of Australia can still post to Facebook, but Australians cannot see or share those posts.

Australian government reacted furiously

The Australian government reacted furiously on Thursday as the restrictions imposed by Facebook also hit the pages of the Australian government and emergency services. A Facebook spokesperson previously said this is a mistake.

Australian news sites have seen their traffic numbers drop by about 13 percent after the Facebook blockade. The number of foreign visitors who visited a news site via Facebook decreased by about 26 percent, the American data company Chartbeat calculated.

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