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  • Facebook has signed letters of intent with three Australian media firms after Parliament passed a law forcing tech giants to pay news outlets for content
  • The deals were signed with Private Media, Schwartz Media and Solstice Media, and commercial agreements will take effect within 60 days if a full deal goes ahead
  • Yesterday, Australia became the first country to pass a law ensuring government arbitrators can intervene if negotiations between big tech companies and domestic media outlets breakdown, allowing the government to set the price if necessary
  • It follows Facebook’s recent ban on news content, which has now been reversed after several amendments were made to the media bargaining code
  • The revised code allows the tech companies a longer period to cut media deals before the state intervenes and will be reviewed within a year of taking effect

Facebook has signed letters of intent with three Australian media firms after Parliament passed a law forcing tech giants to pay news outlets for content.

The deals were signed with Private Media, which owns online magazines, Schwartz Media, which owns The Monthly, The Saturday Paper and Quarterly Essay, and Solstice Media. Commercial agreements will take effect within 60 days if a full deal goes ahead.

“These agreements will bring a new slate of premium journalism, including some previously paywalled content, to Facebook,” the social media giant said in a statement.

Specific financial terms of the deals were not released.

Schwartz Media chief executive Rebecca Costello said the agreements would help support independent journalism.

“It’s never been more important than it is now to have a plurality of voices in the Australian press,” she added.

On Thursday, Australia became the first country pass a law where a government arbitrator can set the price that Google and Facebook pay domestic media for using their content if private negotiations fail.

It follows Facebook’s recent ban on news content shared on its platform, which has now been reversed after several amendments were made to the media bargaining code.

“The code will ensure news media businesses are fairly remunerated for the content they generate, helping to sustain public interest journalism,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said in a joint statement.

The revised code allows the tech companies a longer period to cut media deals before the state intervenes and will be reviewed within a year of taking effect.

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