Three Australian Publishers Accuse Facebook of Stealing Content

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Three Australian lifestyle content publishers have reportedly accused social media giant Facebook of using their articles on its news service after refusing to negotiate licensing deals.

Reuters reports that three Australian lifestyle content publishers have taken issue with Facebook, alleging that the social media giant used their articles on its newly-launched news service after refusing to negotiate licensing deals with them.

Breitbart News reported that earlier this year that a law was passed in Australia that pressured Facebook and Google to develop publishing deals with some of the country’s largest news and media firms. While the law is designed to protect publishers and their content, this latest issue highlights one of the first big challenges for the government in regulating tech giants such as Facebook.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is applauded as he delivers the opening keynote introducing new Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram privacy features at the Facebook F8 Conference at McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California on April 30, 2019. – Got a crush on another Facebook user? The social network will help you connect, as part of a revamp unveiled Tuesday that aims to foster real-world relationships and make the platform a more intimate place for small groups of friends. (Photo by Amy Osborne / AFP) (Photo credit should read AMY OSBORNE/AFP/Getty Images)

Many smaller publishers claim that the recently passed law has not prevented Google and Facebook from using their content to generate clicks and receive advertising revenue without paying publishers.

Broadsheet Media, Urban List and Concrete Playground approached Facebook after the law was passed in February and attempted to negotiate a publishing deal with the tech giant. But Facebook reportedly called their content unsuitable for its Facebook News platform and refused to negotiate.

Facebook did recommend that the publishers apply for grants Facebook offered from an $11 million fund for Australian regional and digital newsrooms.

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 10: Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg, 33, was called to testify after it was reported that 87 million Facebook users had their personal information harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm linked to the Trump campaign. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Nick Shelton, the founder of Broadsheet Media, commented: “They told me that, ‘oh well, you’re not going to be included in News tab and that’s what we’re paying for’. To our surprise, we woke one morning last week and all of our content was there.”

The publishers say that they want to negotiate with Facebook but if the company refuses to do so they will likely request that the government intervene in the situation.

Shelton stated: “If at the end of the day we don’t get included in a commercial agreement, then absolutely they need a stick. We are three prime examples of publishers and media businesses which should be included as part of this framework.”

Read more at Reuters here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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