Facebook Restores News Links in Australia After Getting Some Concessions
Facebook has relented, somewhat, in Australia. The social media company has worked out deals with three publishers in exchange for lifting a policy banning Australian Facebook users from linking to news stories from Australia-based outlets.
It’s the latest salvo in a war over the financial disaster facing the press due to a loss of advertising revenue. The internet has overtaken traditional print outlets as the primary venue for classified advertising. Newspapers have struggled to fill this void. Many have failed.
There’s nothing wrong with introducing a better way to advertise goods and services. But media companies and allied politicians have been treating Google and Facebook as though they’ve stolen money owed to publishers. And so there’s been a push to require social media companies and search engines to make up that lost advertising revenue.
The tech companies have been resisting, noting that it’s the media outlets that have been gaining with increased readership. While this is definitely true, it hasn’t been enough to make up for the loss of ad money. So media outlets have been pushing governments to demand that tech companies subsidize them.
This hit a boiling point in Australia last month when Facebook found itself facing legislation that would force tech companies to pay for links to media outlets, with the amounts to be determined by compulsory arbitration. In response, Facebook simply stopped allowing users to share news stories from Australian media outlets. Facebook officials pointed out that their company is not Google, and that news sharing is not a significant source of its revenue or a
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