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Facebook offers ‘millions’ to publishers

Facebook is reportedly in talks with news publishers to offer “millions of dollars” for the rights to publish their material on its site

By AP, Reuters in San Francisco
  • Published 10.08.19, 3:07 AM
  • Updated 10.08.19, 3:07 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Facebook representatives had told news executives that they’d pay as much as $3 million a year to licence stories, headlines and other material. Shutterstock

Facebook is reportedly in talks with news publishers to offer “millions of dollars” for the rights to publish their material on its site. The move follows years of criticism over its growing monopolisation of online advertising to the detriment of the struggling news industry.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Facebook representatives had told news executives that they’d pay as much as $3 million a year to licence stories, headlines and other material.

Facebook declined to comment but confirmed that the company is working on launching a “news tab” for its service this autumn. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg began talking about a news section on the service in April. A person familiar with the matter confirmed that Facebook has approached News Corp. about paying to licence Wall Street Journal stories.

The person requested anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly about the matter.

The Journal report was not clear as to whether Facebook was offering $3 million to individual publishers or in total to all news organisations.

Many in the news industry have long blamed Facebook and Google for using their content for free while the social network slurped up the majority of digital ad dollars, imperiling the news industry.

A bipartisan bill introduced in Congress this year would grant an antitrust exemption to news companies, letting them band together to negotiate payments from the big tech platforms.

The Washington Post, which was also named in the report as a company Facebook approached, declined to comment. The Walt Disney Co, which owns ABC, did not immediately respond to a message for comment.

Court setback

A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected Facebook Inc’s effort to undo a class action lawsuit claiming that it illegally collected and stored biometric data for millions of users without their consent.

The 3-0 decision from the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco over Facebook’s facial recognition technology exposes the company to billions in potential damages to the Illinois users who brought the case.

It came as the social media company faces broad criticism over its privacy practices. Last month, Facebook agreed to pay a record $5 billion fine to settle a Federal Trade Commission data privacy probe. “This biometric data is so sensitive that if it is compromised, there is simply no recourse,” Shawn Williams, a lawyer for plaintiffs. AP, Reuters