Meta Will No Longer Pay for News Content

Meta Platforms (Nasdaq: META) has announced that it will no longer renew existing deals to pay news publishers in Australia for news content to appear on Facebook. 

The tech giant said that this strategy is “part of an ongoing effort to better align our investments to our products and services people value the most,” including the promotion of short-form video content. 

“The number of people using Facebook News in Australia and the US has dropped by over 80 percent last year. We know that people don’t come to Facebook for news and political content – they come to connect with people and discover new opportunities, passions and interests,” they wrote in the announcement.

The decision doesn’t impact existing agreements with publishers in Australia, France, and Germany until they expire. However, the company will “deprecate” Facebook News, the tab dedicated to news content, in Australia and the US in early April. The feature was removed in the UK, France, and Germany last year. 

In 2021, Australia passed the News Media Bargaining Code, pioneering legislation mandating tech giants to compensate news publishers for their content. This law was introduced in response to criticisms that platforms like Facebook and Google were benefiting from free news content at the expense of the traditional media sector’s advertising revenue. It became the model for similar legislation in other countries like Bill C-18 in Canada.

Not surprisingly, the announcement was met with immediate backlash from the Australian government and the media industry. 

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland and Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones described the decisions as a “dereliction of its commitment to the sustainability of Australian news media.”

“The Australian Government is committed to the News Media Bargaining Code and is seeking advice from Treasury and the ACCC on next steps,” the ministers said.

“We will now work through all available options under the News Media Bargaining Code. The Government will continue to engage with news publishers and platforms through this process.”

Additionally, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, Australia’s largest journalists’ union, expressed concerns over Meta’s commitment to journalism.

Information for this story was found via the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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