Facebook costs millions in UK media to license news stories: Facebook costs UK national news organizations millions of pounds a year to license their posts, while the social network faces the possibility of a government ban on its domination of internet advertising.
Many British media groups have signed up to the scheme, which will feature their articles in a dedicated news section of the web expected to be released in January.
While most of Facebook news intake is currently from links posted on the main news feed of the user, the dedicated news tab would include social network contractors choosing what they deem to be the main stories of the day from media outlets.
In return, publishers are promised substantial amounts of money and the guarantee of new readers.
Facebook refused to comment on the amount of cash it is putting into the scheme, but some publishers are privately expecting to make millions of pounds a year out of the multi-year deals they have signed with the social network.
The Facebook News section will feature a combination of the top stories chosen by the curators employed by the Upday news aggregator, along with other stories chosen algorithmically to represent the interests of the user.
The Guardian, the Daily Mirror, the Independent, all major regional news publishers in the UK and magazines such as the Economist have signed up for the launch partners. Facebook said it hoped to add more publishers to the contract.
The direct cash infusion would satisfy the news media, which has increasingly lost to Facebook in the UK advertising market battle. It also arrives at a time when the social network is facing the possibility of significant regulatory interference from a new regulator seeking to control the online advertising industry. Government sources have made it known that they want Google and Facebook to do more to help the finances of news publishers.
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