Facebook signs deal with Murdoch’s News Corp in Australia | Business and economic news

It is the first major outlet to strike a deal on Facebook under new laws on fees social media giants must pay for news.

News Corp. media baron Rupert Murdoch has struck a content delivery deal with Facebook Inc in Australia, the companies said on Tuesday, a step towards resolving a dispute that saw the social media giant briefly shutting down thousands of pages in the country.

The agreement, the terms of which were not disclosed, makes News Corp the first major media outlet to strike a deal on Facebook under controversial new laws that allow an Australian government-appointed arbitrator to set fees if the companies don’t.

Facebook’s blocking of all media content in the country for a week last month angered world leaders as the outage affected emergency services and government health pages. It ended the shutdown when Australia agreed to relax parts of the new regulations.

Publishers have long complained that Facebook and Google are capturing a growing share of the online advertising market by selling ads on their platforms alongside items they get for free.

News Corp, which owns about two-thirds of Australia’s metropolitan newspapers, was among media companies calling on the government to charge Alphabet Inc’s Facebook and Google for media links that attract viewers and ad dollars to their platforms.

Google had also opposed for months and threatened, like Facebook, to pull basic services out of the country, before signing deals with most of the media – including News Corp – in the days before the laws went into effect. rules.

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“The deal with Facebook is a milestone in transforming the terms of trade for journalism, and will have a material and significant impact on our Australian news business,” News Corp CEO Robert Thomson said in a statement. statement thanking the Australian Prime Minister, Treasurer and Senior Antitrust Regulator by name.

“This digital ending has been in the works for over a decade,” added Thomson.

Facebook’s head of press partnerships in Australia, Andrew Hunter, said the deal means Facebook’s 17 million users in the country “will have access to high-end news articles and late-breaking videos. of the News Corp network.

In addition to the nation’s best-selling tabloids The Daily Telegraph in Sydney and The Herald-Sun in Melbourne, News Corp operates a subscription cable TV network called Sky News, which has a separate Facebook deal, the terms of which no. ‘have not been disclosed, according to media giant owned by Murdoch.

News Corp was the first to say it had struck a deal on Facebook, but free-to-air television broadcaster and newspaper publisher Seven West Media Ltd previously said it signed a letter of intent to that effect.

On Tuesday, rival Seven Nine Entertainment Co Holdings Ltd reported in Australian Financial Review magazine that it had also signed a letter of intent for a Facebook deal.

A spokesperson for Nine said the company, which also publishes the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, “continue to have constructive and fruitful discussions with Facebook (and) when we have something to announce, we will. “.

A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on the nine negotiations.

News Corp made a previous deal with Facebook in the United States in October 2019. The deal allowed its US publications to receive payments in exchange for access to additional articles for Facebook News.

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