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Facebook to invest $1bn in news business after Australia dispute

Facebook's blackout of Australia's news pages - spurred by a proposed law that would require tech giants to pay traditional media for content - shocked the global news industry [File: Regis Duvignau/Reuters]


(Aljazeera) - Facebook Inc on Wednesday pledged to invest at least $1bn in the news industry over the next three years, days after a high-profile standoff with the Australian government over paying news outlets for content.

The social network’s commitment to the news industry follows Google’s $1bn investment last year, as technology giants come under scrutiny over their business models as well as the proliferation of misinformation on their platforms.

Facebook on Tuesday restored Australian news pages, ending an unprecedented weeklong blackout after the company wrung concessions from the government over a proposed law that will require tech giants to pay traditional media companies for their content.

The brief blackout shocked the global news industry, which has already seen its business model upended by the tech giants.

In a blog detailing its version of the showdown, Facebook said the news ban was related to a “fundamental misunderstanding” of the relationship between the company and news publishers.

It also acknowledged that some non-news content got inadvertently blocked when it banned all news content.

Facebook said on Wednesday that it has already invested $600m in the news industry since 2018.

The social media company added it was in active negotiations with news publishers in Germany and France for a deal to pay for content for its news product, where users can find headlines and stories next to a personalised news feed.


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