Facebook : Fight Over Media Payments Shifts Focus to Europe

Katie Ramirez
February 26, 2021

Australia's media code could help to establish a value for that content through negotiations between the company and publishers, but that framework is subject to the country's political whims. "Google and Facebook need media, but they don't need any particular media company, and that meant media companies couldn't do commercial deals", the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair said. Instead, in the case of a standoff, an arbitration panel would make a binding decision on a winning offer.

Nick Clegg, head of global affairs, said in a statement that the company is willing to support news media while reiterating its concerns over mandated payments. "The goal of the code is to give them the potential for arbitration, which helps their bargaining position, and therefore helps them reach fair commercial deals".

Facebook has signed letters of intent with three Australian media firms after Parliament passed a law forcing tech giants to pay news outlets for content.

While there have been fears smaller and regional Australian publishers will be left out of revenue-sharing deals with Facebook and Google, the government doesn't believe that'll be the case.

'In Facebook's own words "the government has clarified we will retain the ability to decide if news appears on Facebook... to support the publishers we choose".

Facebook has advised the government it will restore Australian news pages. It also allows for an arbitration process, meaning businesses can get paid by tech giants, Google and Facebook, for the news content that is posted on Facebook.

But the tech giants said the New Media Bargaining Code, in its original form, effectively amounted to "pay for clicks" and opened them up to a blank cheque.

News Corp. Australia executive chairman Michael Miller said last week that his company had pay negotiations with Facebook. The new law came into action on Thursday after a long process of clearance in the House of Representatives, a battle that saw strong opposition from Google and Facebook.

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Victoria's testing chief Jeroen Weimar said his team would work to " close down" the outbreak over the next nine to 10 days. Funerals and weddings will have no limits on numbers, but need to meet venue density limits indoors and outdoors.

Former UK Deputy Prime Minister Clegg said Facebook drove some 5.1 billion such "free referrals" to Australian news publishers a year ago.

He said the firm was already working with publishers in the United Kingdom to pay for content in its Facebook News product, which personalizes news for its readers' individual tastes.

The move comes as the Canadian government is preparing to introduce legislation in the coming months along the lines of the Australian model.

Some lawmakers and publishers have warned that could unfairly leave smaller media companies out in the cold, but both the government and Facebook have claimed the revised legislation as a win.

The Facebook pages of Australian news outlets were able to update from early on Friday morning for the first time in a week, since the social media slapped a ban on news content being seen Down Under in a dispute over the law which was adopted Thursday.

Mr Sims said he was not surprised the platforms would strike deals with large city businesses first.

Disclosure: CBC/Radio-Canada has business partnerships with Facebook for content distribution and with Google for services that encompass mobile distribution, data storage and communication tools.

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