Facebook has re-commenced talks with the Australian government and local publishers over potential payments, just days after pulling news from the platform.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed Facebook has “tentatively friended us again” and confirmed “Facebook is back at the table again”.
It is believed talks between the government and Facebook’s CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg continued over the weekend.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the tech giant restarted talks with Nine and News Corp about paying for content last Friday – one day after it pulled news from the platform.
Facebook’s decision to stop displaying news content on the platform has hit publishers hard, with total web traffic to news sites dropping 13 per cent.
Data from analytics firm Chartbeat, which is collected from around 255 major Australian websites, shows the drop-off was more pronounced from international readers, which fell around 30 per cent.
Referrals to news sites from Google did slightly increase, going from 26 per cent of traffic the day before the ban to 34 per cent the day after.
However, this was not enough to offset the total dip in traffic.
“Unfortunately, Facebook’s disappearance has resulted in a hit to publishers’ traffic numbers: when Facebook traffic dropped off, overall Australian traffic did not shift to other platforms,” a Chartbeat spokesperson told Reuters.
It comes as The Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology called for a national Facebook advertising suspension until news is restored across Australia.
The Australian government’s Health Department has discontinued paid advertising on the social media platform until news is reinstated.
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