Advertisement
UK markets closed
  • FTSE 100

    7,895.85
    +18.80 (+0.24%)
     
  • FTSE 250

    19,391.30
    -59.37 (-0.31%)
     
  • AIM

    745.67
    +0.38 (+0.05%)
     
  • GBP/EUR

    1.1612
    -0.0071 (-0.61%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.2370
    -0.0069 (-0.55%)
     
  • Bitcoin GBP

    51,954.02
    +974.53 (+1.91%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,381.45
    +68.83 (+5.24%)
     
  • S&P 500

    4,962.24
    -48.88 (-0.98%)
     
  • DOW

    37,909.64
    +134.26 (+0.36%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    83.17
    +0.44 (+0.53%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    2,409.80
    +11.80 (+0.49%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    37,068.35
    -1,011.35 (-2.66%)
     
  • HANG SENG

    16,224.14
    -161.73 (-0.99%)
     
  • DAX

    17,737.36
    -100.04 (-0.56%)
     
  • CAC 40

    8,022.41
    -0.85 (-0.01%)
     

Facebook to stop paying news providers in blow for free online journalism

facebook
Mark Zuckerberg is steering Facebook towards promoting more video content - Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Facebook will stop paying newspaper publishers and will shut down its news section entirely, saying that people do not come to the social network for news or political content.

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, said it would wind down deals with US and Australian publishers and remove a news tab that had served users a feed of articles next month.

It said people would still be able to read news on Facebook posted by their friends and by accounts they follow, including those of news publishers.

The company did the same last year in the UK and Europe, but shutting down its news unit in the remaining countries will see Facebook effectively end its relationships with news companies, many of which had bet their future on millions of readers arriving from social media.

ADVERTISEMENT

The announcement provoked a furious response from the government in Australia, which introduced laws requiring internet companies and news groups to reach licensing deals in 2021.

Meta had paid out millions of pounds to publishers around the world in subsequent years after claims the tech giant was profiting from their work.

Australia’s prime minister Anthony Albanese said: “We know that it’s absolutely critical that the media is able to function properly and be properly funded. Journalism is important and the idea that research and work done by others can be taken free is simply untenable.”

The Australian government said it was seeking advice on next steps it could take under its news media bargaining code, which governs the relationships between news and internet companies and has led to dozens of deals between the companies.

Meta said: “As a company, we have to focus our time and resources on things people tell us they want to see more of on the platform, including short form video.

“The number of people using Facebook News in Australia and the US has dropped by over 80pc last year. We know that people don’t come to Facebook for news and political content - they come to connect with people and discover new opportunities, passions and interests.”

Meta once courted news publishers, leading to companies such as Vice and BuzzFeed securing huge valuations on the premise that they could take advantage of traffic from social media.

But the company has steadily downgraded the prominence of news in recent years and instead promoted other types of content such as TikTok-style short videos.

Sir Nick Clegg, Meta’s head of global affairs, had championed the company’s payments to news publishers as something that “keeps journalism sustainable”.

The incoming Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill in the UK is expected to put pressure on big internet companies to pay news publishers.