Facebook offers mainstream news millions in licensing fees

Facebook is dangling a multimillion-dollar carrot earlier than cash-strapped news shops, providing a hefty licensing price in return for the suitable to make use of headlines and even total tales in a brand new “news section,” insiders say.

The social media big has supplied mainstream shops as a lot as $Three million per yr for the privilege of utilizing their headlines, article excerpts and tales, in line with folks conversant in the deal who spoke to the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. The Journal’s father or mother firm Dow Jones was reportedly one of many firms approached, together with the Washington Post, Bloomberg, and ABC News.

Facebook plans to launch its “news part” in the autumn, the insiders declare, although it’s not recognized which – if any – of the shops accepted the licensing provide. Many of them may definitely use the cash. More than 3,200 jobs have been misplaced throughout on-line news media in 2019 alone, and many shops are struggling to remain afloat with platforms like Facebook taking an rising share of internet marketing revenues. Facebook might have made these shops a proposal they will’t refuse.

Mark Zuckerberg’s platform has come underneath fireplace for cannibalizing advert revenues that after accrued to particular person news shops. Facebook and Google collectively took over 60 p.c of US digital promoting revenues in 2018. Google alone made $4.7 billion in 2018 off the backs of news publishers, in line with the News Media Alliance – and the journalists and publishers who created and posted that content material didn’t see a cent of it.

Facebook has made a concerted effort to shore up mainstream media’s declining reputation, nonetheless, each by deplatforming alt-media rivals and by bankrolling costly however sparsely-watched exhibits for its Facebook Watch web TV platform that includes institution darlings like CNN’s Anderson Cooper. 

Last yr, Facebook partnered with the infamous Atlantic Council to battle the lurking risk of “pretend news” – only a few months earlier than enacting an enormous purge of common political pages, some with millions of followers. The shuttered pages represented all kinds of views from each the left and the suitable, with little in widespread aside from their aversion to the mainstream narrative.

With the 2020 election a little bit over a yr away, the social media behemoth little doubt has a number of extra tips up its sleeve because it seeks to tighten management of the narrative in the hope of avoiding a repeat of 2016 – after which Facebook (together with everybody from actress Susan Sarandon to FBI chief James Comey) was blamed for failing to stop Hillary Clinton’s election loss, and has been doing penance for it ever since.