Facebook has reached an agreement with Australia’s News Corp under a new law that makes social media giants pay domestic news outlets for their content.
The terms of the multi-year deal were not disclosed in Tuesday’s announcement. The deal comes nearly one month after Australia’s parliament approved a law that would allow a government arbitrator to decide the price a digital company should pay news outlets if the two sides fail to reach an agreement.
News Corp Chief Executive Officer Robert Thomson said the agreement “is a landmark in transforming the terms of trade for journalism, and will have a material and meaningful impact on our Australian news businesses.”
According to Facebook's head of news partnerships in Australia, Andrew Hunter, the deal means the social media giant’s 17 million users in the country "will gain access to premium news articles and breaking news video from News Corp's network of national, metropolitan, rural and suburban newsrooms."
The law’s passage occurred after a bitter standoff between U.S.-based Facebook and News Corp, owned by global media mogul Rupert Murdoch, that culminated with the social media giant blocking all Australian news content from the site, as well as the websites of several public agencies and emergency services, including pages that include up-to-date information on COVID-19 outbreaks, brushfires and other natural disasters.
The situation was resolved after negotiators for the government and Facebook reached an agreement on a set of changes to the legislation before its final passage.
News Corp says its Australian subsidiary, Sky News, had also reached a separate deal with Facebook that extends an existing agreement.
Australian media companies have seen their advertising revenue increasingly siphoned off by big tech firms like Google and Facebook in recent years.
Google had also threatened to block news content if the law were passed, even warning last August that Australians’ personal information could be “at risk” if digital giants had to pay for news content.
But the company had already signed a number of separate agreements with News Corp and other Australian media giants such as Nine Entertainment and Seven West Media.
Nine Entertainment and Seven West have said they have signed letters of intent with Facebook on a potential deal.