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Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg. Source: Zach Gibson/Getty Images.
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  • Facebook has told the Australian government it plans to reinstate the ability for users to share news content on its platform
  • It comes after the Australian government agreed to a number of amendments to the proposed News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code
  • Importantly, a decision to designate an online platform under the code must assess whether the platform has made a “significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry”
  • Prior to a final decision, the platform will be notified of the government’s intention to designate, with such decision to be made no sooner than one month from the date of notification
  • Final offer arbitration will be considered a last resort and only used where commercial deals cannot be reached

Facebook has told the Australian government it plans to reinstate the ability for users to share news content on its platform.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the tech giant’s plans in conjunction with several amendments to the proposed News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code.

In an effort to provide further clarity, the amendments dictate that a decision to designate a platform under the code must assess whether the platform “has made a significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry through reaching commercial agreements with news media businesses,” according to a statement.

Prior to a final decision, the platform will then be notified of the government’s intention to designate, with such decision to be made no sooner than one month from the date of notification.

Final offer arbitration will be considered a last resort and only used where commercial deals cannot be reached.

In a separate statement issued by Facebook, the social media behemoth said it was pleased to have reached an agreement with the government, adding that it has consistently supported a framework that encourages innovation and collaboration between online platforms and publishers.

“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 statement 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.”

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