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Facebook restores news pages to Australia

News has returned to Australian Facebook feeds with the social media behemoth dropping its ban after reaching a deal with the federal government.

Facebook pages for Australia’s main media channels including News Corp, Nine, Seven, ABC and SBS were restored on Friday morning, less than a day after the news media bargaining code passed parliament.

The government agreed to change the code after the tech giant banned Australian users from accessing news.

Google struck deals worth millions of dollars with news organisations before the code comes into force.

Facebook on Friday announced it had signed letters of intent with smaller publishers Private Media, Schwartz Media and Solstice Media.

Seven West Media has a similar arrangement, while Facebook is in negotiations with other outlets.

The social media platform last week pulled news in Australia before a tense stand-off with the government ended on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia had stood up for itself after threats from the companies.

“Global tech giants are changing the world, but we can’t let them run the world,” he told reporters in Sydney.

“People in free societies like Australia, who go to ballot boxes and who go and they vote, that’s who should run the world.”

He said the code was critical to ensuring the future of free media through deals with tech companies.

Under the new arrangements, the treasurer can designate platforms which would then be forced to pay for news content after arbitration.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he was pleased with the outcome despite having to make changes to the original bill.

“What’s clear to us is that what has transpired in recent weeks in Australia has very much been a proxy battle for the world with major global ramifications,” he told Sky News.

“If this was so easy other countries would have done it long ago.”

Mr Morrison discussed the issue with his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga overnight.

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