News Corp has announced that it has finalised a three-year deal with Facebook to share its news content on the social media platform in Australia. The development comes weeks after Facebook initially virtually restricted the sharing and viewing of all news content in Australia, after a disagreement with the country’s government over its News Media Bargaining Code. The deal is similar to the one that News Corp had signed with Google, also a party to the Media Bargaining Code.
The agreement involves news content from News Corp Australia, including The Australian, news.com.au website, The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun and The Courier-Mail. It follows an agreement made by the company with Facebook in October 2019, which allowed for the sharing of content from News Corp’s publications in the United States, said the official note. This possible includes publications like The Wall Street Journal, The News York Post in the US, UK’s The Times and The Sunday times and so on.
News Crop chief executive Robert Thomson said, “The agreement with Facebook is a landmark in transforming the terms of trade for journalism, and will have a material and meaningful impact on our Australian news businesses.” He praised Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his team for “helping to fashion a future for journalism, which has been under extreme duress for more than a decade”. He was also appreciative of the Australian government for “taking a principled stand for publishers, small and large, rural and urban, and for Australia”.
The deal ostensibly marks the end of a difficult and complicated negotiation between Google and Facebook, and the Australian competition watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The ACCC’s News Media Bargaining Code had forced the two Big Tech companies to enter into arbitration with news publishers to decide a price for the latter’s content. The Code was supposed to give publishers, whose revenues have plummeted in the previous decade due to the rise of digital media platforms, collective bargaining power.
Both Google and Facebook were defiant for a long time, refusing to engage over the Code, downplaying the importance of news content on their platforms. However, last month, Google bit the bullet and signed deals with News Corp, Australian publishers like Seven West Media, and Nine Entertainment. Contrary to Google, Facebook remained defiant and banned all news content from the platform. But within a few days, the company struck a bargain with the Australian government, which agreed to amend the Code.
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