Australia’s News Corp And Facebook Sing Content Payment Deal In A Sign Of Truce Over New Content Laws

There seems to be signs of a truce in the fight between the social media giant Facebook and the Australian authorities over the issue of the social media company paying local news outlets for news content used from them as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp announced coming to an agreement on content supply with Facebook Inc.

In the tussle last month, the largest social media platform of the world had briefly shut down thousands of pages in Australia as a mark of protest against a new law brought by the Australian government to force large tech companies to pay local news outlets for content used.

With this deal, News Corp became the first major Australian media outlet to strike a deal with Facebook according to the controversial new laws that allows an Australian government appointed arbitrator to decide on the fees payable by tech companies if the firms themselves fail to do so. None of the sides disclosed the terms of the deal.

There was global backlash of Facebook’s decision last month to shut out all media content in Australia for a week since the blackout also included emergency services and government health pages on the social media platform. The shutdown was ended after Australia agreed to soften some parts of the new regulations.

About two-thirds of Australian metropolitan newspapers is owned by News Corp and it was at the forefront in pushing the Australian government to impose regulations to for Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay for the media links that drive viewers, and consequently huge online advertisements to their platforms.

Just like Facebook, Google too had opposed the new laws and had threatened to withdraw its core services from the country. But in the days before the rules became law however, the company signed a number of deals with most media outlets which included agreements with News Corp.

“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,” News Corp CEO Robert Thomson said in a statement that thanked the Australian prime minister, treasurer and chief antitrust regulator by name.

The significance of the deal was that Facebook’s 17 million users in the country “will gain access to premium news articles and breaking news video from News Corp’s network of national, metropolitan, rural and suburban newsrooms”, said the company’s head of news partnerships in Australia, Andrew Hunter.

News Corp also owns and runs a a subscription cable TV network called Sky News, which struck a separate Facebook deal, in addition to owning and running Australia’s top-selling tabloids The Daily Telegraph in Sydney and The Herald-Sun in Melbourne.

The first major local news outlet and publisher to say it struck a Facebook deal was News Corp, even though the free-to-air television broadcaster and newspaper publisher Seven West Media Ltd has previously said it has signed a letter of intent about reaching an agreement on content with the social media company.

(Adapted from GDOline.com)

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