Meta to stop paying Aussie news publishers for content on FB
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1 month ago 06:00:10am Television

Meta to stop paying Aussie news publishers for content on FB

New Delhi, 02-March-2024, By IBW Team

Meta to stop paying Aussie news publishers for content on FB

Meta Platforms has said it will stop paying Australian news publishers for content that appears on Facebook, setting up a fresh battle with Canberra, which had led the world with a law that forces internet giants to strike licencing deals.

News publishers and governments like Australia have argued that Facebook and Google unfairly benefit in terms of advertising revenue when links to news articles appear on their platforms. Meta has been scaling back its promotion of news and political content to drive traffic and says news links are now a fraction of users’ feeds, a Reuters report Sydney stated yesterday.

Meta will discontinue a tab on Facebook which promotes news in Australia and the United States, it said in a statement, adding that it cancelled the news tab last year in the UK, France and Germany.

As a result, “we will not enter into new commercial deals for traditional news content in these countries and will not offer new Facebook products specifically for news publishers”, the statement added.

The decision pits Meta against the Australian government and its 2021 law.

“The idea that one company can profit from others’ investment, not just investment in capital but investment in people, investment in journalism, is unfair,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told reporters. “That’s not the Australian way,” he added.

The government is seeking advice from the Treasury Department and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) about its next steps.

Rod Sims, the former ACCC chair who oversaw the design of the law, called Meta’s reversal selfish and he was concerned about the impact on society as the decision undermined the quality of journalism which appears on social media.

Under the 2021 law, the country’s government must decide whether it will appoint a mediator to set Meta’s fees and potentially fine Meta if it fails to cooperate. Most of Meta’s deals with Australian media ran for three years and are set to expire in 2024.

Meta is, however, not obligated to pay news publishers if it blocks users from reposting news articles as it did briefly in 2021. It has done the same in Canada since 2023 when the country passed similar laws. Meta said yesterday that publishers could continue posting news content on Facebook.

While no deal values have been disclosed, Australian media outlets have reported Facebook’s deals are worth A$70 million ($45 million) a year to the industry.

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