Facebook Australia Agreement

Facebook Australia Agreement – Understanding the Social Media Giant`s Compromise with the Australian Government

Facebook, the world`s largest social media platform, made headlines on February 18, 2021, by abruptly blocking news content and pages in Australia. This action was in response to proposed legislation that required social media platforms to pay news outlets for the content that appears on their sites.

However, within a week, Facebook reached an agreement with the Australian government, and the news pages were restored. So, what was this agreement, and what does it mean for the future of social media and news outlets?

The Proposed Legislation and Facebook`s Initial Response

The proposed legislation, known as the News Media Bargaining Code, aimed to address the revenue imbalance between social media companies and news outlets. It required companies like Facebook and Google to negotiate payment deals with news publishers for content, or else face heavy fines.

Facebook responded to the proposed legislation by blocking all news content on its platform in Australia. The move also affected government pages, health departments, emergency services, and even some charities. The sudden action created a wave of controversy and backlash, with many accusing Facebook of censoring and suppressing journalistic freedom.

The Agreement Between Facebook and the Australian Government

After days of negotiations, Facebook and the Australian government reached an agreement on February 23, 2021. The new deal includes amendments to the News Media Bargaining Code, providing more clarity on the definition of news content and how platforms can participate in negotiations.

Under the agreement, Facebook will be allowed to exempt certain types of news publishers from the code if they meet certain criteria, such as demonstrating a significant contribution to public interest journalism. Additionally, Facebook will have more time to negotiate deals with news publishers before being subject to forced arbitration.

Implications of the Facebook Australia Agreement

The agreement between Facebook and the Australian government has significant implications for the future of social media, news outlets, and journalism. For one, it shows that governments can hold social media companies accountable for their actions, even on a global scale. It also highlights the importance of transparent and fair negotiations between social media companies and news publishers.

Furthermore, the agreement may set a precedent for other countries to follow, with governments seeking to ensure that social media platforms pay their fair share for news content. It also emphasizes the need for news outlets to diversify their revenue streams, relying less on social media platforms for income.


The Facebook Australia agreement represents a compromise between two powerful entities – social media and government – with significant implications for the future of news and journalism. It shows that even the largest social media platform in the world is not immune to government scrutiny and regulation. It also indicates that transparent and fair negotiations between social media companies and news publishers are essential for the sustainability of the media industry. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, it is important for all stakeholders to work together to promote a healthy and thriving media ecosystem.