A breakthrough came on Tuesday in 11th-hour negotiations when the Australian government agreed to amend the legislation’s proposed code of conduct.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced that news pages would be restored to Face book “in the coming days” as the amendments were being made to the law.
Facebook said it was satisfied with the amendments brought by the Australian government, that include guarantees to address the social media giant’s major concerns.
“As a result of these changes, we can now work to further our investment in public interest journalism, and restore news on Facebook for Australians in the coming days,” said Will Easton, managing director of Facebook Australia.
Facebook sparked a global debate after it blocked news pages for the country’s 17 million users and inadvertently blocked a series of non-news Facebook pages related to charities and emergency response services, among others. The legislation by Australia was seen as a test case for regulations globally.
Mr Frydenberg said that there is “no doubt that Australia has been a proxy battle for the word”.
The government on Tuesday said that the legislation aims to set up a fairer negotiation process between the tech giants and news outlets, adding that amendments would further provide clarity to digital platforms and news media on how the code is intended to operate.
The action by Facebook drew sharp condemnation from the Australian government, which described it as “bullying” and “arrogant”.
Prime minister Scott Morison accused Facebook of trying to “unfriend Australia” and cutting off essential information on health and emergency services. He had said the government would not give in to what he termed “intimidation” by the social media giant.
The News Media Bargaining Code required Facebook and other online sites to pay publishers for news content, with the terms of the payment subject to a government arbitration process.
The amendments will include a two-month mediation period, giving more time for both sides to negotiate commercial deals before Facebook is forced to go through arbitration.