Over the course of the next three years, Facebook promises to invest $1 billion into the news industry. This comes after Facebook nearly banned news in Australia over new laws that would require the platform to pay media outlets.
Facebook Changes Its Tune on News in Australia
In an About Facebook blog post titled, “The Real Story of What Happened With News on Facebook in Australia,” Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, attempts to justify Facebook’s erratic response to Australia’s pending legislation.
In a span of less than one week, Facebook banned news in Australia, and then quickly reversed the ban. Australia’s upcoming law would require the biggest names in tech, like Facebook and Google, to compensate news outlets for displaying their articles on their platforms. That said, Facebook didn’t take kindly to this change.
Facebook has since done a complete 360 in regards to its views on news in Australia. Clegg notes that the disagreement “has now been resolved following discussions with the Australian Government” and that Facebook plans on “agreeing to new deals with publishers and enabling Australians to share news links once again.”
More specifically, Clegg states that the conflict stemmed out of “a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between Facebook and news publishers.”
According to Clegg, Australia’s laws would’ve required Facebook to pay “unlimited amounts of money to multi-national media conglomerates under an arbitration system that deliberately misdescribes the relationship between publishers and Facebook.” This plan would supposedly leave smaller publishers by the wayside.
To show Facebook’s continuing commitment to the news industry, Clegg announced that the platform will be investing $1 billion dollars in news, stating:
Facebook is more than willing to partner with news publishers. We absolutely recognize quality journalism is at the heart of how open societies function—informing and empowering citizens and holding the powerful to account. That’s why we’ve invested $600 million since 2018 to support the news industry, and plan at least $1 billion more over the next three years.
Thanks to the deal that Facebook cut with the Australian government, Facebook can continue negotiations with Australian publishers without the risk of “heavy-handed and unpredictable arbitration.”
Will Facebook News Fly in Other Parts of the Globe?
Facebook has already made deals with publishers in other countries, including the UK and the US, and it’s in the process of negotiating with outlets in Germany and France. It was only Australia (so far) that posed the greatest problem for news on Facebook.
There’s no telling what will happen in other countries, should Facebook decide to continue to expand its borders on its news initiative.
Facebook News is set to launch in the UK in January 2021, and publishers expect fair compensation.
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