Government to review how Facebook pays for news content

 
Catherine Neilan
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Like: How Facebook and other online platforms pay for content will come under the review (Source: Getty)

The government has launched a review of how online platforms including Facebook and Google pay news outlets, with the Prime Minister today warning the demise of many newspapers is "dangerous for our democracy".

Noting the fall in print circulation and the failure for online revenues to catch up, the review will look at the overall health of print media, looking at the range of news available and how the press is adapting to the challenges presented by digital.

That will include "the role and impact of online platforms such as Facebook and Google, and the digital advertising supply chain".

Critically for these platforms, the review will consider "how data created or owned by news publications is collected and distributed by online platforms".

The review will also look at regional press "who face an uncertain future" and the role that digital advertising plays in "creating or reducing value for publishers".

It will also look at ‘clickbait’ and low quality news, but not propaganda.

A panel of experts will be appointed in the coming months to lead the review.

Speaking today in Manchester, Theresa May said: "When trusted and credible news sources decline, we can become vulnerable to news which is untrustworthy. So to address this challenge to our public debate, we will launch a review to examine the sustainability of our national and local press.

"It will look at the different business models for high-quality journalism. And because digital advertising is now one of the essential sources of revenue for newspapers, the review will analyse how that supply chain operates.

"It will consider whether the creators of content are getting their fair share of advertisement revenue, and it will recommend whether industry or Government-led solutions can help improve the sustainability of the sector for the future.

"A free press is one of the foundations on which our democracy is built and it must be preserved."

Culture secretary Matt Hancock added: "Robust high quality journalism is important for public debate and scrutiny - but as print circulations decline and more readers move online, the press faces an uncertain future.

"This review will look at the sustainability of the national, regional and local press, how content creators are appropriately rewarded for their online creations, and ensure that the UK has a vibrant, independent and plural free press as one of the cornerstones of our public debate."

A final report expected in early 2019.

Rupert Murdoch, who owns several newspapers such as The Times, the Sun and Wall Street Journal, last month called for Facebook to pay publishers.

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