Facebook will pay UK news publishers to use some of their articles as the tech giant looks to fend off the looming threat of regulation.
From January the site will launch a dedicated news section with a selection of articles from top publishing groups.
The companies behind the Guardian, the Independent and the Evening Standard have already signed up for the programme, as well as regional publishers such as JPI Media, Reach and Archant.
Conde Nast, the magazine giant behind titles including GQ, Vanity Fair, Vogue and Wired, is also taking part.
Facebook said its new service will offer a mix of curated and personalised top stories to its users, with a pledge to prioritise “original and authoritative reporting on pressing topics”.
It said the move will allow publishers to reach new audiences and boost advertising and subscription opportunities.
“Facebook is committed to supporting news organisations as they adapt to the changing digital world, and we are delighted to have so many partners working with us at this early stage,” the company said in a blogpost.
It comes amid growing calls for a crackdown on tech giants such as Facebook and Google over their monopolistic power.
A Lords committee last week blasted the “dysfunctional” online ad market, highlighting in particular the “fundamental imbalance of power” between platforms and news publishers.
It called for the tech titans to pay publishers for use of their content and said platforms such as Google should be more transparent with their user data.
The government has also announced the launch of a new digital markets unit aimed at tightening control over how online platforms use consumer data.
The new unit, which will come into force in April, is part of a wider move towards regulating the digital economy.
But Facebook’s new programme will come as a major boost to news publishers, which have suffered a sharp downturn in advertising revenue this year even as reader numbers have surged during the pandemic.
Even before the outbreak of Covid-19, however, many publishers have been calling for a levelling of the playing field over concerns online platforms were unfairly taking advertising revenue away from publishers.
In October Google committed to paying $1bn (£750m) to publishers over the next three years in a bid to address complaints from news organisations.