Updated March 1st, 2024 at 16:19 IST

Meta's News Funding Cuts Ignite Conflict with Australian Government

The announcement, delivered to publishers on Friday, outlined Meta's decision not to renew existing contracts with Australian publishers.

Reported by: Sagar Kar
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. | Image:AP
Advertisement

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has ignited a contentious dispute with the Albanese government by declaring its intention to cease payments to Australian publishers for news content. Additionally, Meta plans to shut down its news tab in both Australia and the United States.

The announcement, delivered to publishers on Friday, outlined Meta's decision not to renew existing contracts with Australian publishers when they expire later this year. Furthermore, the dedicated news tab within the Facebook platform is scheduled to be shut down in April, following similar closures in the UK, Germany, and France last year.

Advertisement

A look at Meta's clarification 

Confirming these plans in a blog post, Meta clarified that existing agreements with publishers in Australia, France, and Germany would not be affected by the decision. However, it emphasized that no new commercial deals for traditional news content would be pursued in countries where agreements have expired, and Meta would not develop new products specifically for news publishers in the future.

Advertisement

Australian PM opposes Meta's move

In response to Meta's move, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese expressed strong opposition, stating that the decision does not align with Australian values. Albanese emphasized the importance of adequately funding journalism and rejected the notion of others benefiting from the work of journalists without proper compensation.

Advertisement

"We know that it's absolutely critical that media is able to function properly and be properly funded. Journalism is important, and the idea that research and work done by others can be taken free is simply untenable," Albanese asserted during a press briefing on Friday.

The clash between Meta and the Australian government underscores broader tensions surrounding the role and funding of journalism in the digital age. As the dispute unfolds, the future of news distribution and publisher compensation on social media platforms remains uncertain.

Advertisement

Published March 1st, 2024 at 16:19 IST