Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke with Australian lawmakers over new media rules

Both Facebook and Google are targeted in the new Australian law
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Social media billionaire Mark Zuckerberg reportedly called Australian lawmakers last week to discuss new media rules that would ultimately require Facebook to pay news outlets for their content, according to Australia’s Treasurer.

Australia is looking to introduce the new law that would require not only Facebook, but also Google to pay a fee to news companies whose content takes readers to their websites and drives up their traffic.

While negotiations are currently underway, it is possible that the parties involved will not be able to reach an agreement which would ultimately result in a fee being decided by a government-appointed arbitrator.

Zuckerberg attempted to persuade Australian lawmakers to change the new policy during their phone call but ultimately failed, said Josh Frydenberg, Australia’s Treasurer, during an Australian Broadcasting Corp.’s “Insiders” program last week.

During the program, Frydenberg admitted that Zuckerberg “didn’t convince me to back down,” but did reach out to “talk about the code and the impact on Facebook.” He added that the conversation was “a very constructive discussion.”

Both Facebook and Google are against the new law which is called the “News Media Bargaining Code.” 

According to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, the new code is meant to “address bargaining power imbalances between Australian news media businesses and digital platforms, specifically Google and Facebook.” 

In fact, Google has gone as far as to threaten to remove its search engine entirely from Australia as a result of the new code. 

In wake of the threat, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison responded saying “We don’t respond to threats. Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia. That’s done in our Parliament. It’s done by our government. And that’s how things work here in Australia.”

Facebook, on the other hand, has warned it may decide to halt Australians from sharing news content entirely on its platform if the code is implemented.

Wiki Production Code: A0561

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