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Australian news is back on Facebook after new media law is passed in the Senate


Facebook issues alarming warning as it returns Australian news back to its website just eight days after the social media juggernaut tore down millions of pages and posts

Facebook has reversed its controversial ban on Australian news a week after removing millions of posts but not without warning content could be taken down again at anytime.

The landmark bill received the final tick of approval on Thursday when parliament’s lower house agreed to the government’s changes, which were made after negotiations with Facebook and Google.

The lifting on the ban came into effect 1am on Friday.

The company’s vice-president Campbell Brown said Facebook retained its right to take Australian news content down again in the future.

It comes after a tumultuous battle between the Australian government and the tech giants who both threatened to limit services across the nation if the bill was passed. 

Facebook has agreed to restore Australian news on its site after agreeing to pay for content

Facebook has agreed to restore Australian news on its site after agreeing to pay for content

Federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg described it as a significant milestone. 

‘This legislation will help level the playing field & see Australian news media businesses paid for generating original content,’ he tweeted on Thursday.

The social media platform was condemned by politicians and users around the world after it blocked 25million Australians from viewing and sharing news articles on February 18 amid a dispute about the terms of the code. 

The ‘arrogant and disgraceful’ move – which also banned charity, health authority and emergency service pages – came after Australia’s ground-breaking news media bargaining code passed the lower house of Parliament on February 17. 

Following talks with Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, the government made some last-minute changes to the law before it was finalised on Thursday which appeased the tech giant and convinced it to undo the ban.

Facebook has advised the government it will restore Australian news pages. Pictured: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg with wife Priscilla Chan

Facebook has advised the government it will restore Australian news pages. Pictured: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg with wife Priscilla Chan

‘Obviously that was a major engineering feat for them to wipe the Facebook platform of Australian news media content,’ Mr Frydenberg told 2GB on Thursday.

‘I think there was understandable outrage across the broader community as to what Facebook did.

‘But since that time there’s been extensive discussions with the company and we’ve reached a solution and a way forward.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese tried claim some of the credit.

‘The government and the opposition and this parliament have been prepared to take tough decisions,’ he told reporters.

‘We have been prepared to stand ground, to legislate for a code and to do that in order to defend Australia’s national interests and defend the jobs of journalists.

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