Facebook to Funnel Millions of Dollars to Mainstream Media

The Associated Press
Andrew Harnik/AP

Facebook has offered millions of dollars to mainstream news outlets in order to license their content, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal. 

In addition to the WSJ‘s parent company, Dow Jones media, the social network has reportedly approached ABC News, the Washington Post, and Bloomberg. According to the report, Facebook is offering outlets $3 million a year to use content in a new “news tab,” which will feature headlines and previews of articles.

According to the WSJ, Facebook plans to work closely with news outlets in determining how their content will appear on the site:

The news-licensing deals between Facebook and news outlets would run for three years, some of the people said. Facebook is planning to launch the section sometime in the fall, the people said. It isn’t known whether any news outlets have formally agreed yet to license their content to Facebook.

Facebook has proposed giving news outlets discretion over how their content will appear in the news tab, according to people familiar with the matter. News outlets would be allowed to choose between hosting their stories directly on Facebook or including headlines and previews in the tab that would send readers to their own websites, the people said—in which case the news tab would be a generator of web traffic for news outlets in addition to a source of licensing revenue.

A person close to Facebook said it plans to gather feedback from news organizations to help improve the news tab.

This isn’t the first time a Silicon Valley tech giant has decided to pour millions into the mainstream media — after three years of criticism for allowing so-called “fake news” to spread during the 2016 election, other companies have done the same. Google has pledged $300 million to fund “authoritative” news outlets including left-wing Vox Media, with YouTube tapped to push them on users. Breitbart News has revealed that YouTube is reordering its search results for highly political topics (like abortion) in order to push “authoritative” content to users.

This isn’t a first for Facebook, either — last year, it was reported that the social network plans to fund a number of news shows with mainstream outlets that will exclusively appear on the platform, including shows from CNN, Univision, Mic, Fox, and ABC News.

Are you an insider at Google, Facebook, Twitter or any other tech company who wants to confidentially reveal wrongdoing or political bias at your company? Reach out to Allum Bokhari at his secure email address allumbokhari@protonmail.com

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.

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