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Zuckerberg Fails To Convince Aussie MPs To Drop Media Code

CANBERRA: A meeting between Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg last week left both parties empty handed over changes to local media laws designed to make the social media giant pay for content.

“Mark Zuckerberg didn’t convince me to back down, if that’s what you’re asking,” Frydenberg said on ABC’s “Insiders” program on Sunday. The billionaire “reached out to talk about the code and the impact on Facebook” in what the treasurer called “a very constructive discussion.”

Tech giants from Facebook to Google have been lobbying Australian politicians on the proposed legislation requiring them to pay for using media content from media including Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

Facebook has threatened to block Australians from sharing news on its platform if the law is pushed through, while Google said it could axe its search engine entirely from the Australian market.

Frydenberg said Sunday that while he doesn’t dismiss Google’s threats, he’s not “intimidated” by them either.

“We’re in detailed discussions with Google, with Facebook, with the other players across the industry, because this has not been a short conversation that we’ve had with these companies,” he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also spoken with Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella about the proposed changes, Frydenberg confirmed.

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