Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has spoken Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, with the pair agreeing to “work through” the remaining issues with the News Media Bargaining Code.
It follows Facebook blocking the pages of Australian news sites, and preventing millions of Australian users accessing news content online in retaliation to the Government’s news media bargaining code.
Mr Frydenberg said he and the Facebook boss talked through the remaining issues to do with the Code.
“(We) agreed our respective teams would work through them immediately,” he tweeted.
“We’ll talk again over the weekend.
“I reiterated Australia remains committed to implementing the code.”
The Treasurer called out Facebook’s actions in blocking Australian sites and users from news contact as unnecessary.
“They were heavy handed,” he said on ABC.
“They’ve generated a very strong reaction here in Australia and this code is going to be very important in terms of protecting Australia’s national interest but also protecting public interest journalism in this country.”
He said the Government’s resolve was “very firm” during this “revolution in the digital economy”.
“We are seeking to pass that legislation through the Senate next week, but there’s something much bigger here at stake than just one or two commercial deals,” he said.
“This is about Australia’s sovereignty.”
“I would just say to Facebook, this is Australia, if you want to do business here, you work according to our rules,” he said.
“We’re happy to listen to them on the technical issues of this, just like we listened to Google and came to a sensible arrangement. But the idea of shutting down the sorts of sites they did yesterday, as some sort of threat, I know how Australians react to that and I thought that was not a good move on their part.”
The Prime Minister spoke to India’s leader Narendra Modi yesterday and confirmed the two spoke about the Facebook issue.
“People are looking at what Australia is doing.
“I have had these exchanges also with Prime Minister Trudeau and Prime Minister Johnson is very interested.”