Facebook signals expansion of news tab, but Australia missing

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 26 August 2020

Facebook is planning to roll out its dedicated news tab around the world, but Australia has been left out from regions earmarked for the feature.

Facebook News, which launched in the US last year, pays select news publishers for their content, with reports that it's prepared to pay some publishers up to US$3 million to use their content.

Yesterday, the social media company outlined vague plans to expand the feature, saying it was “considering” the UK, Germany, France, India and Brazil as possible regions and gave a timeline of “six months to a year”.

“In each country, we’ll pay news publishers to ensure their content is available in the new product,” says Campbell Brown, VP of global news partnerships.

“Consumer habits and news inventory vary by country, so we’ll work closely with news partners in each country to tailor the experience and test ways to deliver a valuable experience for people while also honoring publishers’ business models.”

Australia, which is currently working to force digital platforms to pay news media businesses for their content with a bargaining code, hasn’t been included in Facebook News’ expansion plans.

“We have no current plans to announce Facebook News in Australia,” says Antonia Sanda, Facebook AUNZ head of communications.

The social media company has been relatively quiet in response to the draft bargaining code which has been publicly criticised by Google.

However, before the draft code was outlined, Facebook pushed back against the idea of sharing revenue with Australian media companies, saying it would be able to remove news content from its platform without “significant” impact to its business.

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