Facebook has announced a phased rollout of Facebook News to a small group of Australian users as well as a $15 million (US$11.1 million) news fund.
Facebook News will provide personalized news content for users in separate tabs on its app.
This comes after Australia implemented a media bargaining codeWhich was strongly opposed by Facebook. In February, the social media giant banned all Australian news content on its platform in retaliation for the law.
After an overwhelming backlash, Facebook eventually reversed the decision, notably to shut down emergency news services that required government agencies.
Since then, the platform has negotiated and finalized deals with every major Australian publisher, agreeing to pay them millions for their news content.
“Facebook will continue to support the news industry through products and programs to promote premium journalism and increase referral traffic and revenue for publishers,” said Facebook Australia’s flagship news partnership. Andrew Hunter said in an announcement. “We plan to expand Facebook News to more Australians in the coming months.”
The media bargaining code means that platforms such as Google and Facebook are required to negotiate and enter into agreements with the media to publish their content.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said this was to ensure that news media businesses are “considerably remunerated” for the content they generate and provide a framework for goodwill negotiations.
“[The code] Addresses the imbalance of bargaining power between news media businesses and digital platforms.” he said in February.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said deals between Australian news businesses and Facebook would not have been achievable without a media bargaining code.
“There’s No Debate About It,” ACCC President Rod Sims told Australian Financial Review. “We are in a great position. It is better to get the deal done where you have the same bargaining framework versus having it done by an arbitrator.”
The social media platform has also created two news funds worth $15 million to invest in public interest journalism over the next three years.
The Newsroom Sustainability Fund will allocate $2.5 million per year to innovation and revenue-generating projects, in the form of subscription paywall and membership program development.
The Public Interest Journalism Fund will allocate an equal amount to small, regional and independent publishers and journalists to create projects of public interest.
Hunter said, “We are particularly focused on how the fund can provide support for underserved communities, such as Indigenous Australians, the LGBTQI+ community, youth and women’s issues, rural affairs and local citizen journalism. “
News Originally From – The Epoch Times