Mark Zuckerberg Reached Out Over New Media Rules’ Facebook Impact: Australia

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Facebook Inc CEO Mark Zuckerberg called Australian lawmakers last week to discuss rules that would make internet giants pay news outlets for content but failed to persuade them to change policy, the country’s Treasurer said on Sunday.

Zuckerberg “reached out to talk about the code and the impact on Facebook” and a constructive discussion followed last week between the social media billionaire, Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and communications minister Paul Fletcher.

“No, Mark Zuckerberg didn’t convince me to back down if that’s what you’re asking,” Frydenberg told the Australian Broadcasting Corp, without giving further details of the meeting.

A Facebook spokeswoman in Australia said the company’s executives regularly meet with government stakeholders on a range of topics.

“We’re actively engaging with the Australian government with the goal of landing on a workable framework to support Australia’s news ecosystem,” she said.

Australia intends to introduce a law that would 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.

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