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Top European media outlet refuses to join Facebook News

Facebook is launching its news product in Germany without media giant Axel Springer, which publishes the country’s most popular daily newspaper and says it won’t participate due to the “inappropriately low remuneration” offered for journalistic content.

The social media platform said Monday that Facebook News will launch in Germany in May. The product, which Facebook describes as a “dedicated space for journalism,” was first offered in the United States and expanded to the United Kingdom in January.

The move comes after Facebook briefly stopped people from finding news on its platform in Australia last month rather than pay publishers for their content, a decision that produced a global backlash against the company.

Weekly newspapers Der Spiegel and Die Zeit are among the initial launch partners for Facebook News in Germany, according to Facebook. Daily newspapers such as the Handelsblatt and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung have also signed up.

But Axel Springer, which publishes the national newspaper Die Welt and best-selling tabloid Bild, said it won’t contribute to Facebook News because of the financial terms on offer. The publisher is backed by private equity firm KKR, and it owns digital brands including Business Insider.

“We consider the efforts of several platforms to become news brands themselves while at the same time compensating some publishers with inappropriately low remuneration for their content as problematic,” said a spokesperson for Axel Springer.

A global battle

Australia’s government passed legislation that would allow certain media outlets to bargain with tech companies so they could be paid for distribution of the news they produce. Under the legislation, parties enter arbitration if they can’t reach an agreement.

The European Union and the United States face growing pressure from publishers and tech industry critics to adopt similar measures. Canada’s government has said it plans to introduce legislation in the coming months.

New copyright laws in Europe require search engines and social media platforms to share revenue with publishers if their content is displayed. Axel Springer said on Monday that it intends to rely on those rules.

“We put our faith on the implementation of a European copyright in which all publishers can transparently participate and receive reasonable compensation,” a spokesperson said.

Article Topic Follows: Money

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