Facebook to pay USD 1 billion for news

Facebook to pay USD 1 billion for news

Following the turbulence when Facebook stopped the sharing of news in Australia, the company now says it will spend at least USD 1 billion on agreements with the news industry over the coming three years. The statement comes after Facebook closed sharing of news in protest against a legislation meant to make big tech companies pay publishers for using their content online. The blocking was reversed after negotiations between the Australian government and Facebook with the government saying there would be some changes of the proposed legislation but with the rest of the agreement a bit murky.

Google has earlier said it will also spend USD 1 billion over three years on agreements with publishers to contribute content to the company´s new service Google News Showcase. Google has made such agreements also with publishers in Australia to show it can reach agreements directly with publishers without government imposed arbitration.

In a blog post Facebook refers to that the company has started a news service in the US and the UK where publishers are paid for contributing content. During a test period in the US, Facebook said the company would pay invited publishers for content while others could contribute content but without payment. However, Facebook said these publishers would anyway benefit from increased traffic to their websites.

“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 USD 600 million since 2018 to support the news industry, and plan at least USD 1 billion more over the next three years.”

Facebook said it is in active negotiations with publishers in Germany and France to launch its new news service also in these countries.

”There are legitimate concerns to be addressed about the size and power of tech companies, just as there are serious issues about the disruption the internet has caused to the news industry. These need to be solved in a way that holds tech companies accountable and keeps journalism sustainable. But a new settlement needs to be based on the facts of how value is derived from news online, not an upside-down portrayal of how news and information flows on the internet.

“The internet needs new rules that work for everyone, not just for big media corporations. By updating internet regulation, we can preserve what’s best about it — the freedom of people to express themselves and entrepreneurs to build new things. New rules only work if they benefit more people, not protect the interests of a few”, the Facebook blog post said.

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