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U.S. sees Facebook dispute as a matter between companies and Australia -State Dept

WASHINGTON, Feb 19 (Reuters) - The United States considers Australia’s dispute with Facebook a business negotiation between private companies and the Australian government, State Department spokesman Ned Price told a regular news briefing on Friday.

U.S. ally Australia is locked in a pitched battle with Facebook. The U.S.-based social media giant blocked news feeds and other pages - including those of charities, and health and emergency services - as part of a dispute over a proposed law that would require Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay news outlets whose links drive traffic to their platforms, or agree on a price through arbitration. (Reporting by Simon Lewis, Humeyra Pamuk, Daphne Psaledakis and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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