Facebook pushed back Wednesday against media representations of their recent legal dispute with the Australian government and promised to invest $1 billion in the news industry.
“The assertions — repeated widely in recent days — that Facebook steals or takes original journalism for its own benefit always were and remain false. We neither take nor ask for the content for which we were being asked to pay a potentially exorbitant price,” Facebook said in a press release.
The company press release claims to be “the real story” of Facebook’s actions in Australia, and sought to express support for the media by telling readers the company has already invested millions in the news industry and plan to heighten investments over the next three years.
“We absolutely recognize quality journalism is at the heart of how open societies function — informing and empowering citizens and holding the powerful to account,” Facebook said. “That’s why we’ve invested $600 million since 2018 to support the news industry, and plan at least $1 billion more over the next three years.”
The Real Story of What Happened With News on Facebook in Australia https://t.co/vVsR7BxCNw
— Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) February 24, 2021
Facebook’s clash with Australia began after the country passed the “Media Bargaining Law” last week, which required the company to pay news organizations for content posted on the platform. (RELATED: News Outlets In Australia Struggle With Traffic After Facebook Ban)
Facebook promptly blocked Australian users from reading or posting news on the platform until negotiations with the government Tuesday resulted in various changes to the policy.
Despite several concessions made by the Australian government, Facebook will still be forced to negotiate deals with Australian news publishers.