Meta Defends Its Decision To Pull Out Of News In Australia

Meta is decidedly not rolling over in its battle with the Australian government over payments to publishers for using their content.

The social giant said two weeks ago that it would not extend contracts it had to pay for news in the country. Meta had been paying $70 million a year to news outlets in deals made under the News Media Bargaining Code.

Australian officials called this a “fundamental dereliction of [Meta’s] responsibility to its Australian users” in an op-ed piece, according to The Guardian.

But Meta fired back in a blog post, saying that in 2023, “Facebook Feed sent Australian publishers more than 2.3 billion free clicks — for no charge — driving an estimated (AUD) $115 million worth of value.”

Meta continued, “Ultimately, there is a misunderstanding of how news content works on Facebook. Some have accused Meta of ’taking’ or ‘stealing’ news content but that’s not the case. We don’t scrape or pull content from publisher websites, unlike other companies. We provide a free service which publishers voluntarily choose to use and can benefit from.”



However, the ministers argued, “The (News Media Bargaining) code recognizes that these digital platforms have immense market power, and seeks to correct the imbalance in bargaining power to incentivize fair commercial outcomes for Australian publishers – and in turn, the communities they serve,” the ministers said.

But Meta contends that, “As a content type on Facebook, news is highly substitutable. We have observed that when there is less or no news on our platforms, people continue to use our services.”

Meanwhile, in the U.S., Meta threatens to remove news links in Illinois if the Illinois General Assembly passes the Journalism Preservation Act (SB3591), a bill that would require social platforms to remit a ournalism fee to digital journalism providers. 





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