Wednesday, 21 April, 2021


Facebook signs deals with three independent publishers

Australia passes new law requiring Facebook and Google to pay for news Australia Passes Law Requiring Google, Facebook Pay For News
Noah Ferguson | 26 February, 2021, 15:47

Australia's parliament adopted landmark legislation Thursday requiring global digital platforms to pay for showing Australian news content on their platforms.

The agreements ended a stalemate that prompted Facebook to block all Australian news content last week, preventing them from being viewed or shared.

They added that the government was "pleased to see progress by both Google and more recently Facebook in reaching commercial arrangements with Australian news media businesses". One key change gave Frydenberg the discretion to decide that either Facebook or Google need not be subject to the code if they make a "significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry".

The code mandates a three-month window for parties to negotiate a deal; if negotiations stall, an independent arbitrator is appointed. The company disclosed that it was in active negotiations with news publishers in France and Germany for an agreement to pay for news content.

Sims said he was not surprised that the platforms would strike deals with the large city businesses first.

If you'll recall, Facebook blocked publishers and users from sharing news links in Australia in response to the proposed law.

"These partnerships continue Facebook's commitment to the Australian news community", the company said in a statement, pointing to grants handed to Australian newsrooms over the COVID-19 pandemic and increased funding for fact-checkers in the local market.

As of Friday morning, news content from outlets including the ABC, The Sydney Morning Herald, News.com.au, and this very masthead is visible and accessible to Facebook's millions-strong Australian user base. The country's Public Interest Journalism Initiative warns of "unintended consequences by allowing any small to medium media outlets to fall through a gap", owing in part to "a lack of sufficient expertise in complex negotiations with digital platforms". Now they must ask themselves, who makes the rules?

The deals were signed with Private Media, which owns online magazines, Schwartz Media, which owns The Monthly, The Saturday Paper and Quarterly Essay, and Solstice Media.

Google and Facebook have already started making deals with Australia's biggest media. For every $100 spent by Australian advertisers today, $49 goes to Google and $24 to Facebook, according to the country's competition watchdog. Analysts say such deals will likely favor the top end of town, with smaller publishers missing out.

This way, they can a monetary boost, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic when various media organisations struggled in Australia and eventually laid off their employees and even shut their operations.

"News publishers and governments have worked together to fight for fair treatment".

The move by the Australian government is expected to unleash more regulatory action in other countries where regulators have been considering ways to curb the powers of companies like Google and Facebook.

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