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QUOTE BOX-Reaction to Facebook agreeing a concession deal with Australia on media bill

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(Updates with comment)

CANBERRA, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Facebook said on Tuesdayit would restore Australian news pages after negotiating changeswith the government to a proposed law that forces tech giants topay for media content displayed on their platforms.

Following are comments from Facebook, Australia andanalysts:

JOSH FRYDENBERG, AUSTRALIA'S TREASURER

"There is no doubt that Australia has been a proxy battlefor the world. I have no doubt that so many other countries arelooking at what is happening here in Australia.

"Facebook and Google have not hidden the fact thatthey know that the eyes of the world are on Australia, andthat's why they have sought to get a code here that isworkable."

CAMPBELL BROWN, FACEBOOK VICE PRESIDENT OF GLOBAL NEWSPARTNERSHIP

"We have come to an agreement that will allow us to supportthe publishers we choose to, including small and localpublishers.

"The government has clarified we will retain the ability todecide if news appears on Facebook so that we won’tautomatically be subject to a forced negotiation.

"It’s always been our intention to support journalism inAustralia and around the world, and we’ll continue to invest innews globally and resist efforts by media conglomerates toadvance regulatory frameworks that do not take account of thetrue value exchange between publishers and platforms likeFacebook."

TAMA LEAVER, PROFESSOR OF INTERNET STUDIES AT CURTINUNIVERSITY, AUSTRALIA

"It's not a draw.

"Even though Facebook managed to cover some concessions andthe law is perhaps softer, I still think they were the biglosers here simply because of the way that they tried tonegotiate over the last week. A lot of Australians are a lotmore hesitant to rely on Facebook and in terms of theirreputation and their Australian user base they have lost trust.

"The law itself remains untested. It's like a gun that sitsin the treasurer's desk that hasn't been used or tested."

RICHARD WINDSOR, INDEPENDENT BRITISH TECHNOLOGY ANALYST

"Facebook has scored a big win in arriving at an agreementwith the Australian government regarding paying for news fromAustralian sources with concessions that virtually guaranteethat it will be business as usual from here on.

"Prior to this “sudden” breakthrough, Facebook had cut offaccess for all Australian news outlets to its platform whichprovoked a large public outcry. Critically, the Australian newssites also took a big hit in internet traffic, clearlydemonstrating that Australian media needs Facebook more thanFacebook needs it.

"Facebook has been accused of acting like North Korea in itsactions, but I think that they are fully justified as Australia(and everyone else) seems to be viewing Facebook as a freepublic service rather than a business.

"As the news sites have quickly realised, their advertisingrevenues are likely to be lower without Facebook than with iteven if Facebook pays them no money at all for their content.

"This clearly demonstrates that the current arrangement isbetter than no arrangement at all. This notion of free internetis the classic misconception that is held both by the generalpublic and lawmakers and the sooner that this is dispelled, thesooner the correct working relationship can be established."

PAUL BUDDE, AUSTRALIA-BASED INDEPENDENT INTERNET ANALYST

"Facebook won, as the necessary changes were made to thelegislation that avoids them making changes to their businessmodel."

The Australian government was still able to say it "stood upto the giants and that got international attention (but) thedigital giants remain as strong as ever."(Reporting by Colin Packham, Byron Kaye and Douglas Busvine;additional reporting by Renju JoseEditing by Susan Fenton)