Facebook ‘offering millions’ in talks with news publishers ahead of ‘news tab’ launch, reports say

Facebook is reportedly in talks with news publishers to offer “millions of dollars” for the rights to publish their material on its site.

The move follows years of criticism over its growing monopolisation of online advertising to the detriment of the struggling news industry.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook representatives had told news executives that they would pay as much as $3m a year to license stories, headlines and other material.

Facebook declined to comment but confirmed that the company is working on launching a “news tab” for its service this autumn.

US publishers approached by Facebook are said to include Dow Jones, Bloomberg, Washington Post and ABC News.

The companies will been given the option to choose between hosting their stories directly on Facebook or sharing previews that usher readers to their own websites, according to Wall Street Journal sources.

Many in the news industry have long blamed Facebook and Google, known together as the Duopoly, for using their content for free while they benefited from the majority of digital ad dollars.

Press Gazette called on the two tech giants to pay more back to news publishers and stop destroying journalism when it launched its Duopoly campaign back in April 2017.

A forecast by ad agency Group M, published in June, predicted that newspapers and magazines were set to see less than 10 per cent of all UK advertising spend in 2019 while Facebook and Google would hoover up around three quarters of all spending on digital ads.

Research firm Emarketer has also forecast that the Duopoly will take 63.3 per cent of all UK digital ad spend this year, up from 62.7 per cent last year.

The UK competition watchdog launched a probe into the digital ad market last month in response to fears about Google and Facebook’s growing dominance.

In a submission to the Competition and Markets Authority’s study, trade body the News and Media Association said the US tech giants should be made to share how much they “extract” from the news industry.

Picture: Reuters/Eric Gaillard

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