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After Facebook stand-off ends, automated code of conduct passes Senate

The Senate has approved the government's new media legislation for digital networks like Facebook and Google.

After Facebook took the historic step of banning all Australian news from its sites, the News Media and Digital Outlets Mandatory Negotiating Code was revised earlier this week.

In the House of Representatives, the amendments must now be passed.

But the fight to get the laws passed goes back half a year, before the draft code for digital platforms was revealed by Mr Frydenberg and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in July 2020.

The Senate has passed new government regulations concerning news on social media platforms.
The Senate has passed new government regulations concerning news on social media platforms.

Under the necessary code of conduct, technology giants Google and Facebook will be expected to negotiate payment for news content with Australian media companies and inform them of algorithm modifications.

In December 2019, it followed a lead from the Morrison Government to promote the formation of voluntary codes to resolve bargaining power imbalances between digital channels and news media companies.

The implementation of a code of conduct is part of the government's response to the final report of the ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry to encourage competitiveness, strengthen consumer security and promote the digital era of a sustainable Australian media landscape.

"What we've sought to do is create a level playing field to ensure a fair go for Australian news media businesses and that when they generate original content, they are fairly paid for it," Mr. Frydenberg said in July.

We want the Australian culture that is so much loved and used by Australians to continue to offer these services to Google and Facebook. But we want it to be on our terms.

"We want it to be in accordance with our law and we want it to be fair, and that is what has motivated us with this mandatory code."