News Corp Australia has inked a three-year agreement with Facebook to offer access to trusted news and information to users in Australia through its Facebook News product. The agreement includes The Australian national newspaper, the news.com.au news site, major metropolitan mastheads such as The Daily Telegraph in New South Wales, Herald Sun in Victoria andThe Courier-Mail in Queensland and regional and community publications.
At the same time, its subsidiary Sky News Australia has also reached a new agreement with Facebook which extends and significantly builds on an existing arrangement. This follows an agreement reached in October 2019 in which News Corp publications in the US receive payments in exchange for access to additional stories for Facebook News. It also comes nearly a month after News Corp and Google partnered up to feature the former's publications on Google News Showcase in return for "significant payments by Google".
Robert Thomson, News Corp chief executive, said the agreement with Facebook is "a landmark" in transforming the terms of trade for journalism, and will have a material and meaningful impact on News Corp's Australian news businesses. "Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his team deserve credit for their role in helping to fashion a future for journalism, which has been under extreme duress for more than a decade," Thomson added.
Last month, Facebook caused an uproar in Australia when it restricted publishers and Australian consumers from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content. Facebook acted in response to Australia's Media Bargaining Code which will see the company and Google being fined "hundreds of millions of dollars" should they refuse to pay for news content.
That same week, however, Facebook and the Australian government reached an agreement, which resulted in several changes to the legislation being made. Bloomberg previously reported that digital platforms will be offered time to ink commercial deals with publishers "before forcing them into a final-offer arbitration".
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