Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook Inc, called Australian lawmakers last week to discuss rules that would allow internet giants to pay news for content without persuading them to change the guidelines, the country’s treasurer said on Sunday.
Zuckerberg “reached out to speak of the Code and its impact on Facebook,” and a constructive discussion ensued last week between social media billionaire, Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg, and communications secretary Paul Fletcher.
“No, Mark Zuckerberg has not convinced me to step down if you ask,” Frydenberg told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. without giving further details of the meeting.
A Facebook spokeswoman in Australia said the company’s executives meet regularly with government actors on a number of topics.
“We are actively working with the Australian government to land on a workable framework in support of the Australian news ecosystem,” she said.
Australia plans to enact a law to force Facebook, the world‘s largest social media platform, and internet search giant Google Inc to negotiate payments to media companies whose content drives traffic to their websites. If the parties cannot agree on payments, a government-appointed arbitrator will set the fees for them.
Facebook and Google reject the “News Media Bargaining Code” and have launched public campaigns against it. Google has threatened to withdraw its search engine from Australia, while Facebook has warned that Australians will stop posting news content on its website once the law goes into effect.
In a Senate investigation into the proposed bill earlier this month, local executives of both companies have expressed their opposition to what would be some of the toughest plans in the world when it comes to the financial impact of global internet companies on domestic media that are affected due to falling advertising revenues.
“We have been told that if we keep doing it we will break the Internet,” Frydenberg said on ABC.
“What I do know is that media companies should get paid for content.”
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)