Facebook is taking a giant leap on how it works with the media industry as it launches its first Facebook News in the UK. This is Facebook’s first market outside of the U.S. for its dedicated, curated news portal.
The portal will launch with a number of new partners, including Channel 4 News, Daily Mail Group, DC Thomson, Financial Times, Sky News and Telegraph Media Group. These are in addition to outlets already announced including The Economist, The Guardian, The Independent, STV and hundreds of local news sites from Archant, Iliffe, JPI Media, Midlands News Association and Reach as well as lifestyle outlets such as GQ, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Vogue and many more.
With Facebook News, people in the UK will see the top headlines and stories of the day next to news personalised to their interests.
Facebook News gives people control over the stories they see in the app and the ability to explore news on a wide range of topics from a variety of news outlets. News articles shared by people and Pages will continue to appear in News Feed, just as they do today.
“We’ve been partnering with news organisations for many years and our goal has always been to work out the best ways we can support the industry in building sustainable business models,” said Jesper Doub, Facebook’s Director News Partnerships, Europe.
“This product is a result of those conversations. As we invest more in news and pay publishers for more content in more countries, we will work with them to support the long term viability of newsrooms.
“We also recently announced we’re extending the Community News Project for another year. The £2.25 million (R47 million) annual training fund in partnership with the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) trained reporters in 80 local newsrooms across the UK, building on the initial £4.5 million (R94 million) investment.”
Doub added that Facebook aim is to build on its efforts to sustain great national and local journalism and create more value for publishers.
“We’ll continue to learn, listen and improve Facebook News as it rolls out across the UK and into other markets, including France and Germany, where we are in active negotiations with partners.
“In order to bring Facebook News and other news products that help publishers transition in the digital age to more countries, it is critical that regulatory environments invite this kind of investment and innovation.”
Executives from Google and Facebook have told a Senate committee they are prepared to take drastic action if Australia’s news media bargaining code, which would force the internet giants to pay news publishers for linking to their sites, comes into force.
Google would have “no real choice” but to cut Australian users off entirely from its flagship search engine, the company’s Australian managing director Mel Silva told the committee. Facebook representatives in turn said they would remove links to news articles from the newsfeed of Australian users if the code came into effect as it currently stands.
So what’s going on here? Are Google and Facebook really prepared to pull services from their Australian users rather than hand over some money to publishers under the bargaining code?