ACCC Asks Media Companies About The Value Of Facebook & Instagram

?stanbul, Turkey - February 10, 2014: Businessman figurines standing in front of Apple iPad monitor  displaying start-up screen of Facebook application. Facebook is one of the most visited social networking website in the world.
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

Australia’s competition watchdog is assessing how much value media companies derive from Facebook and Instagram.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is asking publishers what damage it would cause if Meta blocked news from its platforms.

The inquiry, which was requested by assistant treasurer Stephen Jones, will help the ACCC inform him if the tech giants should be forced to negotiate new news content deals. It follows Meta announcing it was going to walk away from funding Australian publishers when the current deals expire this year.

The watchdog told B&T that it is not providing advice on whether to designate Facebook because it is a decision that Jones needs to make.

A spokesperson said: “We note Meta’s decision to remove the News Tab service in Australia from early April. The ACCC remains of the view that access to public interest journalism is essential for Australians and it is concerning this information will no longer be available on this service.

“We have been requested to work with the relevant stakeholders and have commenced voluntary information gathering to inform our advice to the Assistant Treasurer.”

Meta currently pays about $70 million to 13 media outlets under the News Media Bargaining Code.

In a blog post explaining why it is walking away from the deals, the social media company said news content accounts for less than 3 per cent of all posts on Facebook, and that publishers already receive $115 million worth of referred traffic from Facebook and Instagram to their websites.

According to documents shared with the Australian Financial Review, the ACCC is asking media companies how much money publishers make from web traffic through Facebook and Instagram, and the damage that would occur if Meta removed blocked news content from being published on its platforms in Australia. 

In August 2023, the social media platform stopped Canadian publishers from posting news content and there are concerns that it could make a similar move in Australia if the government forces it to renegotiate news content deals.

Any move to block news would have a larger impact on smaller, independent publishers that rely on social media for traffic.

The food and lifestyle publisher Broadsheet last week posted that it fears it will be booted off Facebook and Instagram, while owners of Man of Many and The Daily Aus have publicly expressed concerns about being removed from Meta’s social media platforms.

Australia’s largest news media companies – News Corp, Nine and Seven West Media – are calling on the government to designate Meta, which would force the US-headquartered tech company to the negotiating table.

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