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Facebook ban: Australia and social media platform agree to lift Australian news ban

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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s government announced on Tuesday that Facebook has agreed to lift its ban on Australians sharing news after a deal was struck on legislation that would make digital giants pay for journalism.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Facebook confirmed in statements that they had reached agreement on amendments to proposed legislation that would make the social network and Google pay for news that they feature.

Facebook last week blocked Australians from accessing and sharing news on its platform, in response to the government’s proposals, but the surprise move sparked a big public backlash and intensified the debate over how much power the social network has.

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The Senate will debate amended legislation on Tuesday.

“The government has been advised by Facebook that it intends to restore Australian news pages in the coming days,” Frydenberg and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said in a statement.

Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president of global news partnerships, said in a statement that news would be restored in Australia in the coming days.

“Going forward, the government has clarified we will retain the ability to decide if news appears on Facebook so that we won’t automatically be subject to a forced negotiation,” Brown said. “It’s always been our intention to support journalism in Australia and around the world, and we’ll continue to invest in news globally and resist efforts by media conglomerates to advance regulatory frameworks that do not take account of the true value exchange between publishers and platforms like Facebook.”

Contributing: Kelly Tyko and Terry Collins, USA TODAY

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