Today the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook plans to pay legacy media outlets millions of dollars for the rights to place their content in a new Facebook news section that will be launched this fall.
According to the Wall Street Journal’s sources, Facebook will be offering up to $3 million per year to license full news stories, headlines, and article previews from news outlets. The Wall Street Journal adds that these licensing deals will run for three years.
Some of the outlets Facebook has reportedly pitched with these licensing deals are:
- ABC News (which is owned by Walt Disney)
- Dow Jones (which is the parent company of Financial News, MarketWatch, and the Wall Street Journal)
- The Washington Post
The Wall Street Journal says that it’s unclear whether any news outlets have accepted a licensing deal with Facebook.
The licensing deal will reportedly allow news outlets to choose to host entire stories on Facebook or host headlines and previews which link back to their website.
The report on these new Facebook licensing deals comes after more than 3,000 digital media employees have been laid off this year and at a time when many legacy media outlets are facing sharp declines in their ad revenue.
Facebook and Google have faced much of the blame for this decline in digital media because these tech giants aggregate much of the news on their platforms and then take a huge share of the ad revenue that used to go directly to publishers.
While this deal is likely to help struggling legacy media outlets boost their reach and revenues, it’s yet another sign that Facebook and its other platforms are turning their backs on independent creators.
Facebook-owned Instagram recently mass suspended meme accounts on the platform, with many of these accounts having millions of followers and some earning six figures in income. Before this meme purge, Facebook banned numerous independent voices from its platform for being so-called “dangerous individuals.”
And while these legacy media outlets are getting paid millions of dollars to license their news, Facebook is rolling out numerous initiatives to “fact-check” news and suppress what it deems to be “fake news”. These measures often disproportionately affect independent creators on Facebook’s platforms and result in their content being censored or removed entirely while legacy media outlets are boosted because they’re supposedly “trustworthy news” sources.
Facebook’s plans to start licensing news from legacy media outlets also comes at a time when Google, one of the biggest online news aggregators, is also making decisions that boost legacy media content while suppressing independent creators.
Recently, Google-owned YouTube's chief product officer Neal Mohan proposed “positive discrimination” of authoritative sources” like CNN over independent creators. In addition to this, a Google executive recently revealed that legacy media outlet CNN receives a huge boost in Google’s rankings and is shown for 20% of searches or “Donald Trump.”