Facebook Owner Meta Angers Australia With Plan to Stop Paying for News Content

March 1, 2024

By Byron Kaye and Lewis Jackson

SYDNEY (Reuters) -Meta Platforms said it will stop paying Australian news publishers for content that appears on Facebook, setting up a fresh battle with Canberra which had led the world with a law that forces internet giants to strike licencing deals.

News publishers and governments like Australia have argued that Facebook and Google unfairly benefit in terms of advertising revenue when links to news articles appear on their platforms. Meta has been scaling back its promotion of news and political content to drive traffic and says news links are now a fraction of users’ feeds.

Meta will discontinue a tab on Facebook which promotes news in Australia and the United States, it said in a statement, adding that it cancelled the news tab last year in the UK, France and Germany.

As a result, “we will not enter into new commercial deals for traditional news content in these countries and will not offer new Facebook products specifically for news publishers,” the statement added.

The decision pits Meta against the Australian government and its 2021 law.

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