From May onwards, Facebook will present news content from more than 100 publishers and media brands from Germany in a separate area of its network. The company announced this on Monday. Above all, it is an offer of peace to the publishers who have complained for years that platforms such as Facebook and Google benefit from distributing published content without paying them for it.
According to Facebook, the media like The mirror or the Hamburg publisher Gruner + Jahr, which belongs to the Bertelsmann group. Also regional newspapers like that Rheinische Post and publishers like Condé Nast are there.
The media houses are to be paid to link content on Facebook News that was previously not shown on the platform. But they don’t have to be specially produced for Facebook. “It is important that the content itself does not end up on Facebook, but that we set links to the offers of the publishers,” said Jesper Doub, responsible for media partnerships in Europe at Facebook, in an online press conference. This means that the publishers can still earn money with the content, for example by adding advertising or letting readers take out subscriptions (more about the background here).
“We will invest around one billion dollars worldwide in Facebook News in the next three years,” said Doub, Facebook News in Germany was part of it. Facebook did not communicate exactly how high the remuneration for individual publishers was. The circle of partners is not limited to the media houses that have been there from the start; the sum for the participating media houses will not decrease if more are added. Facebook News started a year ago in the US and was last introduced in the UK. With the “Showcase” in its news app, Google has had a similar offer in Germany since autumn.
Doub compared Facebook News with the video portal Facebook Watch, the Facebook Marketplace or the dating area within the network. “These are things that always address partial aspects of users. But if this group is sufficiently large, then this is an occasion for us to think about developing a product accordingly.” In terms of content that is consumed on Facebook worldwide, news content only made up four percent on average.
Facebook announces the cooperation against the background of its conflict with the Australian government. In the country, the government has drafted a law that would have forced Facebook and Google into arbitration, in which publishers could win large sums of money. As a leverage, Facebook then banned journalistic content from its platform. Australian users of the network were practically cut off from the flow of news. Following government concessions, Facebook had promised last week to “support publishers we choose, including small and local publishers.” The media lock will be lifted.
In Germany, the Bundestag still has to approve a new so-called ancillary copyright law. It should lead to Facebook and Google transferring money to the publishers if they link to their articles behind short marker texts.