Facebook CEO Sits Down With Australian Government Officials Over The Nation’s Planned Laws Regarding Paying Media Outlets

Mark Zuckerberg recently reached out to the Australian government, in an attempt to smooth things over with the nation after heated discourse arose from the latter’s decision to make Facebook and Google pay news outlets for featuring their work.

Some background might as well be explored. Facebook and Google are two companies that, more than most tech conglomerates, have made a killing off of online journalism. With the former utilizing it to fill user feeds with relevant information that keeps them invested in the social network, and the latter having built a search engine empire from the ensuing results of these publications, there was a lot being monetized. That monetization coming, directly or indirectly, from the hard work and effort of journalists across their world.

Yet it transpires that these very authors and their respective publication outlets never see a penny emerge from such tribulations. The likes of Google and Facebook have effectively captured user interest by effectively spreading news articles, with the Chrome browser actively suggesting articles catering to the individual user. What they haven’t done is bring the people behind the effort into the loop. Naturally, it now transpires that some took offense to this. An entire country, to be specific.

Australia recently announced that Google and Facebook would be required to pay local news outlets and publishers for using and monetizing their content. This was not warmly received by either company, with Google actively threatening to pull their search engine out of Australia. The situation further escalated as an Australian senator cried blackmail, and Google hid Australian news articles in lieu of an “experiment” entailing news impact. While this bitter exchange rattles on, it seems that Facebook has decided to attempt a much more diplomatic approach towards the entire situation.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, reached out to Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher. In a call declared to be constructive, the three delved into and discussed at length the impact such laws will have upon Facebook’s operations in Australia. While Facebook has also previously threatened action against the nation, claiming that Australian users will be unable to share news on the platform, it’s certainly been more subdued in its reaction as opposed to Google inflammatory outburst.

While the entire story is yet to reach a conclusion, Frydenberg did reveal that Facebook did not change his mind about the planned legislation, and that media businesses should be paid for the content they generate.

Photo: Getty Images

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