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Meta To Stop Paying Australian News Media

We use Facebook News in Australia and have no plans to renew our contracts with news publishers. (File)

Sydney:

Facebook’s parent company Meta said on Friday it would no longer pay media fees to Australian media companies, with the government warning the company was “in default” on past commitments.

Meta expands its global withdrawal from news content, scrapping Facebook’s News tab in Australia and saying it will not renew contracts with news publishers worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The company explained the move by saying, “People don’t come to Facebook for news or political content.”

The decision was well thought out, but it will be a blow to Australia’s news organizations, which are already struggling to survive.

Meta previously announced it would not renew content agreements with news publishers in the US, UK, France and Germany.

The social media giant was under pressure to pay for news from a government that wants to level the media playing field and support struggling news agencies.

Media companies around the world have seen declining revenues for years as advertisers flock to popular digital platforms like Google and Facebook to reach consumers.

Three years ago, Meta’s promise to pay media outlets prompted the Australian government to water down the laws governing relationships between online platforms and news organizations.

On Friday, Communications Minister Michel Rolland expressed anger at Mehta’s announcement and suggested the government could take retaliatory measures.

“Meta’s decision to no longer pay for news content in a number of jurisdictions represents a dereliction of Meta’s commitment to the sustainability of Australian news media,” Rowland said.

“This decision eliminates an important source of income for Australian news media companies. Australian news publishers should be fairly compensated for the content they provide.”

Mr Rowland said the government would consult with the communications regulator and “consider all available options” to deal with the issue.

He said: “The Government is committed to promoting a strong, sustainable and diverse media sector because it is critical to our democracy and social cohesion.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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