In recent weeks, Facebook blocked people in Australia from sharing or viewing news articles as legislators debated a bill to compel all social media companies to pay for content. The new law is being watched globally and may offer a model for other countries.
Facebook Inc pledged to spend at least $1 billion to license material from news publishers in the next three years. The move comes as tech giants face massive scrutiny from governments throughout the world over paying for news content that comes up or gets published on their platforms.
The new spending plans are in addition to $600 million that Facebook paid since 2018 in various deals with different publishers including Financial Times, The Guardian, and others to publish and populate its Facebook News product in various countries, according to a February 24 blog post published by a senior Facebook policy executive, Nick Clegg.
The social media company’s new pledge is similar to a plan by Alphabet Inc.’s Google announced in 2021. Google agreed to pay over $1 billion to license news content for its Google News Showcase over three years.
Facebook suspended news from its platform in Australia in the past week as the country’s legislature debated on a proposal that would need Facebook and Alphabet Inc.’s Google to compensate the traditional media outlets for their content.
On February 23, Facebook agreed on a deal with the Australian government to restore news to its platform in exchange for additional negotiations with the media companies before binding arbitration starts.