Facebook closes deals with Australian media companies.
SYDNEY – Facebook Inc. has informed Australian publishers that it has stopped negotiating licensing deals. It was revealed in an email to the industry by Reuters.
The announcement came six months after they passed a law to require tech companies to pay for news content.
Facebook announced deals with many of the country’s top news outlets. However, SBS, a TV broadcaster, was left out of the deal, raising questions about the law’s effectiveness and scope.
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SBS is one of five Australian national broadcasters free to air and provides the nation’s primary source of foreign-language news.
It stated that Facebook refused to enter negotiations despite months-long attempts. It noted that it had reached a deal with Google.
“This outcome is against the Government’s intent to support public interest journalism and in particular include the public service broadcasters within the Code framework about remuneration,” a spokesperson for SBS stated in a statement Wednesday.
In an August email, Andrew Hunter, Facebook’s regional head for news partnerships, stated that it had “now completed” deals with Australians to pay them for content on the newly launched “Facebook News.”
Hunter stated that even if a publisher is rejected, they would still benefit from the clicks from Facebook. He recommended that they tap into a new series of industry grants.
However, Hunter did not comment on the SBS comments or the email. But stated in a statement to Reuters, content deals are “just one way that Facebook supports publishers.”
Meanwhile, they have ongoing discussions with publishers about what types of news content can provide the most value to them and Facebook.
The U.S. social media company, Social Media giant, has signed deals with various Australian media companies, including News Corp to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
It also has a collective bargaining agreement with rural publishers. Only a few smaller and independent publishers have signed deals.
As reported previously by Reuters, Facebook refused to negotiate a deal for the Conversation. The Conversation publishes academic commentary on public affairs.
It prompted a rebuke by the regulator that drafted the law. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission declined to comment Wednesday.
The law required Facebook and Google to negotiate with news outlets to provide content that drives traffic to their websites.
However, before any government intervention can occur, the federal treasurer must first determine whether either Facebook or Google has failed to negotiate in good faith.
It is known as “designation.” The treasurer’s representative was unavailable for comment immediately.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority will enforce the law but declined to comment. It might be because they had identified no technology company, so the law didn’t technically apply.
Devika Chowdhury – She is a professional news editor, writer, and blogger for the last 10 years. She is working with NewsGater as an off-beat news editor cum writer.