Facebook signs pay deals with three Australian news publishers

Facebook signs pay deals with three Australian news publishers
Facebook has announced preliminary agreements with three Australian publishers following new laws compelling digital giants to pay for news (Niall Carson/PA)

Facebook announced on Friday preliminary agreements with three Australian publishers, a day after the country’s parliament passed a law that would make the digital giants pay for news.

Facebook said letters of intent had been signed with independent news organisations Private Media, Schwartz Media and Solstice Media.

The commercial agreements are subject to the signing of full agreements within the next 60 days, a Facebook statement said.

“These agreements will bring a new slate of premium journalism, including some previously paywalled content, to Facebook,” the statement said.

Schwartz Media chief executive Rebecca Costello said the deal would help her company continue to produce independent journalism.

Google had already struck news sharing deals with a number of Australian publishers (Tim Goode/PA)

“It’s never been more important than it is now to have a plurality of voices in the Australian press,” Ms Costello said.

Private Media chief executive Will Hayward said the new deal built on an existing Facebook partnership.

Australia’s Parliament on Thursday passed the final amendments to the so-called News Media Bargaining Code.

In return for the changes, Facebook agreed to lift a six-day-old ban on Australians accessing and sharing news. Access to Australian news sites did not appear to be fully restored until Friday.

Google, the only other digital giant targeted by the legislation, has already struck content licensing deals, or is close to deals, with some of Australia’s biggest news publishers including Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and Seven West Media.

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