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Google, Facebook Close to Deals with Australian Media

and Facebook are ‘very close’ to deals with major Australian media to pay for news, a top government official said Monday, as the tech giants scramble to avoid landmark regulation.
Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said talks with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai had made “great progress” in resolving a standoff being closely watched around the world. Australia is poised to adopt legislation that would force digital companies to pay for news content, something that would create a global precedent and, according to Facebook and Google, wreck the way the internet works.
The companies have threatened to partially withdraw services from the country if the rules become law, sparking a war of words with the government in Canberra.
But that disagreement appeared to ease Monday, with Frydenberg telling public broadcaster ABC talks with the companies “made great progress over the course of the weekend”.
“I think we’re very close to some very significant commercial deals,” he said, “and in doing so that will transform the domestic media landscape.”
The agreements could be enough to see Facebook and Google avoid the most severe parts of the legislation including binding arbitration to ensure they are not using their online advertising duopoly to dictate terms in deals with media companies.

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