Saturday, 20 February 2021
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Facebook Inc. has re-engaged with the government after escalating tensions saw the social media company disable a raft of pages in the country, including some that offered public-health advice on the coronavirus.
“They’re back at the table,” Morrison told reporters on Saturday in Sydney. “That’s what we want to see. We want to work through this issue.”
The prime minister also welcomed a report that a Facebook executive had apologized for the company mistakenly shutting down pages operated by charities and others that covered public-health and safety announcements. Morrison described the actions as “completely indefensible.”
Facebook on Thursday blocked news sharing on its platform in Australian in response to a legal standoff with the government, which is expected to pass laws next week aimed at compensating the local media industry for advertising revenue lost to digital platforms.
Facebook’s dispute on news sharing in Australia is part of a broader battle against global regulation, with lawmakers in other countries watching the case closely.
In contrast, Alphabet Inc.-owned Google -- which also opposes the legislation -- negotiated a string of deals in the past week with media Australian companies in a bid to avoid the arbitration process enforced by the law.