After a heated argument with the Australian government which led to the social media company blocking Australian news pages on its platform, Facebook has decided to invest up to $1 billion in installments in the Australian news industry.
Facebook follows Google's previous 1billion investment in the news industry. More tech companies are under fire from governments worldwide over their business practices and the rampant spread of false information on their platforms. Canada is allegedly considering creating a bill similar to the one drafted by the Australian government.
Australian news pages regained access to their Facebook accounts
In a gesture meant to assure the Australian government of its motives, Facebook unblocked the Facebook pages of Australian news agencies that were blocked last week. The tech giant also obtained some concessions from the Australian government. The bill, which would have seen Facebook pay news agencies that use its platforms, received a few amendments.
Facebook's blocking of news pages had a ripple effect on the Australian media. Most news agencies had a reduction in the number of views and clicks on their news articles.
Facebook explained its actions in a blog post. According to the blog post, Facebook restricted the accounts because of a “fundamental misunderstanding” between Facebook and news agencies.
Facebook also blocked pages unrelated to the news industry
In the blog post, the tech company admitted and apologized for mistakenly blocking pages unrelated to the news industry. The pages-in addition to news-related pages- have all been unblocked.
Facebook said during a recent press release that it previously spent up to $600 million in the news industry around 2018-2019.
The company also said it was in talks with news publishers in European countries like Germany and France to create a deal similar to the one it has with Australia. Facebook hopes the move will help users locate authenticated news articles in their social feed.