Unfriend War - ACCC meets with publishers over Meta designation

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 25 March 2024
Photo by Pawel Chu on Unsplash.

The ACCC is meeting with publishers as the competition watchdog prepares a brief for the federal government on whether Meta has a bargaining power advantage over news media companies.

AdNews can confirm that independent publisher Man of Many is meeting with the ACCC this afternoon.

ACCC declined to comment. 

Small digital publishers see catastrophe if Meta is pushed so far in negations that it blocks all Australian news from Facebook and Instagram.

The big publishers, including News Corp, Seven West Media and Nine Entertainment, want Canberra to "designate" Meta under the News Bargaining Code. This could then lead to fines of up to 10% of Meta's earnings.

But the smaller players, who haven't had a share of the reported $70 million in payments form Meta, say negotiations could mean "a total withdrawal of news content from its platforms". 

Man of Many, in a confidential submission to the ACCC, says the removal of referrals from Facebook and Instagram, the audience gains from posting on the social media platforms, would result in a loss of about 20% of overall revenue.

This would come from the direct loss of advertising income, affiliate income and potentially e-commerce sales. This could also mean job losses.

In Canada, Meta blocked news on Facebook and Instagram in response to a new law forcing the big digital platforms to pay publishers for their premium news.

Small digital publishers in Australia, fearing being kicked off the social media platforms by Meta, are urging followers to follow them to other social media platforms. 

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