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Facebook to spend $ 1 billion on news content over three years

Facebook Inc.

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has said it will spend at least $ 1 billion on licensing from news publishers over the next three years, a commitment that comes as tech giants come under close scrutiny from governments around the world for paying for news content that appears on their platforms.

The spending plans come on top of the $ 600 million Facebook has paid since 2018 under deals with publishers like the Guardian, Financial Times and others to fuel its Facebook News product in some countries, according to a blog post Wednesday by Nick Clegg, a Facebook politician.

Social media company‘s new pledge is similar to an Alphabet plan Inc.

Google announced last year that it would license more than $ 1 billion for news content from its Google news storefront over a three-year period.

Facebook removed the information from its platform in Australia last week as the country’s legislature debated a proposal that would have required Facebook and Google to pay traditional media companies for their content.

Facebook has blocked Australians from viewing or sharing news articles as lawmakers debated a bill requiring social media companies to pay for content. The legislation is monitored globally and may offer a model for other countries. Photo: Josh Edelson / Getty Images

Facebook struck a deal with the government on Tuesday that would reinstate information on the platform in exchange for steps such as further negotiations with media companies before binding arbitration begins. The revised legislation lifted its last major parliamentary hurdle on Wednesday.

Australia has sought to impose such requirements so that technology companies pay a portion of the costs that publishers incur in producing topical content. Other governments, including Canada, have pledged to consider measures similar to what Australia has planned. Many news publishers around the world have long feared that technology platforms would profit from their content without adequately paying for it.

Tech giants and news media

In his blog post, Mr Clegg said the proposed Australian law would have required the company to “pay potentially unlimited amounts of money” to global media companies under the arbitration system.

“It’s like forcing automakers to fund radio stations because people could listen to them in the car and let the stations set the price,” said Mr Clegg, the former UK Deputy Prime Minister.

Facebook intends to make deals with news publishers to have their articles appear on the news products it develops. Mr Clegg acknowledged concerns about the concentration of power between tech companies and the means to fund journalism, but said that “a new regulation must be based on the facts of the value gained from online news, and not on an upside down representation of how news and information circulates on the Internet.

Corp News,

the parent company of the Wall Street Journal, has a business deal to deliver news through Facebook. Last week, News Corp also entered into a three-year deal with Google to license content from its posts and produce new products for Google platforms.

Write to Paul Ziobro at [email protected]

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Appeared in the February 25, 2021 print edition under the headline “Facebook to spend $ 1 billion on news content.”