Facebook has had a chequered past with news publishers. So does it need them?
According to Facebook, it doesn’t. The platform has just rejected plans from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which wants Facebook and Google to share their profits with news publishers.
Facebook has hit back saying it would still be profitable without news publishers, which is something most have always known and a stance Facebook has held ever since it began downranking publishers in 2018.
Instead, Facebook has been explicit about its preference for local news from local sources. Because of this, major news sites know they can’t rely on the platform for mass organic reach anymore.
But despite what Facebook says, a 2019 Ofcom study shows almost half of all adults (49%) get their news from social media. The study also puts Facebook as the third-most-popular source for news after the BBC and ITV, with 35% calling it their most commonly-used news source.
On the other hand, news has long been a bone of contention for Facebook. It’s had fake news to deal and criticism for its handling of state-backed misinformation, which is why it now labels news from government sources.
Would it be better off without it altogether?