As Facebook Gets Set to Pay UK Media for News, What About India?

The Quint
·4-min read

Facebook will begin paying UK news publishers for some articles with the launch of Facebook News in January, the BBC reported. The new feature adds a dedicated news tab to the Facebook app. This feature has already launched in the United States.

On 30 November, Facebook announced “new investments focused on journalism in the UK” with the launch of Facebook News, a dedicated space for national and local news, coming in January 2021.

Facebook wrote in its official blog, “with Facebook News, we will pay publishers for content that is not already on the platform, help publishers reach new audiences and bring more advertising and subscription opportunities.”

So, what does this mean for news publishers in India and around the world?

WHAT IS FACEBOOK NEWS?

Facebook launched a new section, specifically for finding major and local news, inside its main mobile app.

“Built with publisher feedback and insights from people, it is a personalised destination for news within Facebook,” Facebook wrote in its blog in August.

Facebook said it surveyed publishers, journalists, and over 100,000 people on Facebook in the US to learn more about how people consume news on Facebook. It wanted to see what topics they were most interested in, and it found it was "under-serving" many topics people wanted to see most in their news feeds. As a result, it's come up with Facebook News.

Starting in 2019, Facebook began testing News among a few hundred thousand users in the US. In June 2020, it became available to all in the US. In August 2020, Facebook revealed it would expand its news feature internationally within the next six months to a year.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR PUBLISHERS?

What this means is that Facebook will now pay publishers for featuring their articles and news content on its platform. The issue of revenue sharing has been a major bone of contention between the social media platform and news publications in Australia, Europe, US and several other countries.

“It comes after years of tension between Facebook and news publishers, who have often accused it of "stealing" content,”BBC reported.

The BBC, in its analysis, states that the initiative “crosses a commercial rubicon.” The company has always directed traffic back to publishers, but this is the first time that Facebook will pay news publishers for their work.

“For more than a decade, the likes of Rupert Murdoch's News UK - as well as many local publishers - have argued that big tech companies carry their content without paying for it, and so act as leeches,” writes BBC.

WHICH PUBLISHERS ARE GETTING PAID?

The first group of publishers featured in Facebook News in the UK includes Archant, Conde Nast, The Economist, ESI Media, Guardian Media Group, Hearst, Iliffe, JPI Media, Midland News Association, Reach, STV and others.

“These publishers are home to hundreds of the UK’s best known and most loved national and local news brands,” Facebook stated in its blog.

The publications that will feature include The Economist, The Guardian, The Independent, The London Evening Standard, Liverpool Echo, Manchester Evening News, The Mirror, The Scotsman, STV and the Yorkshire Post amongst others.

Facebook News will also include content from lifestyle brands such as Red, Harpers, Cosmopolitan, Wired, GQ, Glamour, Vogue and Tatler. We expect many more partners to join prior to launch.

WHAT ABOUT INDIA?

Facebook has announced India as among the countries they’ll be expanding the service to. This means news publishers in India will be paid by the company for their news content that Facebook features on its site.

“We aim to launch Facebook News in multiple countries within the next six months to a year and are considering the UK, Germany, France, India and Brazil,” Facebook wrote in its blog in Ausgust.

In each country, Facebook will pay news publishers to ensure their content is available in the new product, the social media company said.

This move is expected to open up a new revenue stream for media companies, especially smaller, independent and regional publications.

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