Facebook pledges $1 billion investment in news over next 3 years


Facebook announced on Wednesday that it would be investing $1 billion in the news industry over the next three years, a week after a standoff with Australia over new laws that would require it to pay publishers to share their content.

“We absolutely recognize quality journalism is at the heart of how open societies function — informing and empowering citizens and holding the powerful to account,” Facebook said in a statement. “That’s why we’ve invested $600 million since 2018 to support the news industry, and plan at least $1 billion more over the next three years.”

The social media company appeared to acknowledge that there are issues that need to be addressed regarding the “size and power of tech companies” and their effect on the news industry.

“These need to be solved in a way that holds tech companies accountable and keeps journalism sustainable,” Facebook said.

According to Facebook, it had already partnered with news organizations such as The Guardian, Telegraph Media Group and Daily Mail Group, among others.

The tech giant announced on Tuesday that it would be lifting its news ban in Australia after last-minute negotiations with the government took place on Monday.

“The assertions — repeated widely in recent days — that Facebook steals or takes original journalism for its own benefit always were and remain false,” Facebook said of the Australian legislation. “We neither take nor ask for the content for which we were being asked to pay a potentially exorbitant price.”

“It’s like forcing car makers to fund radio stations because people might listen to them in the car — and letting the stations set the price,” Facebook added.

Australia’s upper chamber of Parliament passed the law on Wednesday, adding amendments following its negotiations with Facebook. The amendments provide a two-month negotiation period before the tech companies are forced into arbitration. The law will now go to the lower chamber for another vote.

In the U.S. a lawsuit was filed by a West Virginia newspaper owner who alleged that companies like Facebook and Google are manipulating the digital advertising market and thus making it harder for newspapers to survive.

“These companies are more powerful than Standard Oil in its heyday, so no one wants to be the first to take them on,” Doug Reynolds, owner of the Charleston Gazette-Mail, said at the time. “We felt the political and legal climate have moved in our favor and are ready to go ahead.”

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