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News 23 Feb 2021 - 1 min read

Facebook reverses block, dealmaking resumes, Seven first off mark

By Brendan Coyne - Editor

Scratch that: News and other sites will be unblocked this week after concessions made.

Facebook has agreed to stop blocking news and other websites in return for amendments to the news bargaining code. Publishers expect negotiations to resume, Seven has already signed letter of intent.

What you need to know:

  • Facebook said it has secured assurances that it will not be forced into negotiations and can decide whether news appears on its platform.
  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg also claiming a win.
  • Seven signs letter of intent as other publishers recommence negotiations.

Facebook said it will stop blocking news and other websites this week after securing assurances that it will not be forced into negotiations with publishers.

Instead, the platform can ultimately decide which news to carry and therefore what to pay for.

The agreement comes after the Federal Government agreed amendments to the bargaining code (detailed here).

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the turnaround followed “intensive negotiations” with Facebook since last Thursday.

The platform will now resume commercial discussions with publishers. Seven, as with Google, is off the mark early, signing a letter of intent with Facebook.

Industry sources have previously suggested publishers collectively seek to take up to $100m a year from Facebook, though the new amends may soften expectations.

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