News Club / 18 March 2024

Meta’s beef with news

At the start of this month, Meta – the mega US company that makes mega bucks from its Facebook and Instagram social media apps – announced it would not re-sign the deals said to be worth about $70 million a year that it did in 2021 with some Aussie news publishers.
That sets in motion a possible chain of events that could change a lot for our media industry – and you as a news consumer. And when we say ‘possible’ and ‘could’, what we’re saying is there’s a lot still to unfold…
The first is there’s a question over how the Albanese Government will respond. It has the News Media Bargaining Code at its disposal that could see Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones ‘designate’ Meta under the Code to try to force the company back to the negotiating table.
In response, Meta could decide to pull news content from Facebook and Instagram altogether. With no news on its platforms, it could argue there’s no obligation to pay news publishers for their content. Meta did that in Canada at the end of last year.
To help you get across this, our Club Picks this week are:

To answer the question of what’s going on here and how it could affect publishers, we have an opinion piece in The Australian by Tim Duggan, the chair of the Digital Publishers Alliance (the industry body representing independent publishers that we’re a member of). Canada’s an example of what news publishers’ posts look like if you want to see for yourself…

A podcast from Future Media by tech/media insider Ricky Sutton (you can read the transcript here if you prefer). Let’s just say he has some “tough truths” he reckons Australia’s publishers need to hear…

How Meta is looking at news content more broadly is picked up in this New York Times article. It’s relevant because America’s presidential election this year has prompted the social media platforms to try to avoid involvement in the spread of mis and disinformation.

This week’s News Club touches on some big themes – the power of the tech companies, the sustainability of the news media, and how our citizenry is informed to ensure a thriving democracy.
And it strikes a bit close to home for us here at The Squiz – but as always, we won’t tell you what to think… As far as we’re concerned here at News Club, we reckon we’re well-placed to cut through the noise and help you form your own opinions.

Your friends in news
Claire Kimball & Kate Watson

News Club

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