While Facebook has announced deals with most of the country’s largest news outlets, some companies including TV broadcaster SBS and smaller publishers have been left out in the cold.
Australia is the only country with a law where the government may set the fees if negotiations between tech giants and news providers fail, but the rejected companies are left with little recourse for the time being and are waiting for the government to review the law in 2022 as planned.
Facebook’s regional head of news partnerships, Andrew Hunter, said in an August email to publishers it had now concluded deals where it would pay Australian companies for content on its just-launched “Facebook News” channel.
Mr. Nick Shelton, founder of Broadsheet Media, a website which publishes entertainment news, reviews and listings and was rebuffed by Facebook, said the decision to close off on new deals was “clearly an attempt from Facebook to cap their exposure to independent publishers.”
"Outcome at odds with the Government’s intention of supporting public interest journalism"
The Special Broadcasting Service, or SBS, one of Australia’s five national free-to-air broadcasters and the country’s main source of foreign language news, said Facebook declined to enter negotiations despite months of attempts and that it was surprised and disappointed. It noted it had successfully concluded a deal with Google.
This outcome is at odds with the Government’s intention of supporting public interest journalism, and in particular including the public service broadcasters in the Code framework with respect to remuneration, an SBS spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday.
Hunter said in the email to publishers, which has not been made public, that rejected publishers would continue to benefit from clicks directed from Facebook and recommended they tap a new series of industry grants.