Facebook has denied pressuring officials in an ongoing battle over Facebook’s plan to launch a digital news service in Australia.
The social media platform launched Facebook News in the U.S. in 2020. The service is a news platform that takes several metrics into consideration, with the goal of “delivering a more relevant news day.”
Facebook has slowly started to launch the service worldwide, with the U.K. launch taking place this January. They plan to launch Facebook News in Australia this fall, but there has been a battle surrounding the legality of the service.
This happened after Australia passed the News Media Bargaining Code. According to the government, this law was created in an effort to balance the power between major digital platforms like Facebook and Australian media companies.
Facebook did not approve of the law, and went as far as to block news content on its own platform in Australia. Facebook reversed this decision after amendments were made to the code.
After some officials claimed that Facebook had pressured legislators into making the amendment, the platform defended itself, saying that it actually supports competing news publishers.
“We have two goals at present,” said Mia Garlick, Facebook’s director of policy for Australia and nearby areas. “One is to conclude deals that will allow us to bring Facebook News to Australia in the latter half of this year, and the second is to make sure that we are launching initiatives that can support smaller regional and public interest publishers.”
She added that Facebook has paid “tens of millions of dollars” to publishers, and that Facebook is dedicated to “contributing to the Australian news ecosystem.”
Facebook News is expected to launch in Australia this fall.
READ MORE: Facebook to Launch Australian News Service