Facebook to begin paying UK publishers for news stories

Facebook has made a commitment to invest more in journalism within the UK, with the promise of helping publishers reach new audiences and more monetisation opportunities.

The launch of Facebook News, a dedicated hub for national and local news, in the UK builds on the launch of the platform in the US, which it first began rolling out in October last year.

The News offering, which launches in January 2021, provides Facebook users with a mix of curated and personalised stories, delivering readers the top headlines and stories of the day alongside news personalised to their interests. Facebook says it will also provide timely news digests to highlight ‘original and authoritative’ reporting during major news cycles.

Many of the UK’s major publishers have signed up to be part of the program including Archant, Conde Nast, The Economist, ESI Media, Guardian Media Group, Hearst, Iliffe, JPI Media, Midland News Association, Reach, STV, and others. These publishers are responsible for titles including The Economist, The Guardian, The Independent, The London Evening Standard, Liverpool Echo, Manchester Evening News, The Mirror, The Scotsman, STV, the Yorkshire Post, Red, Harpers, Cosmopolitan, Wired, GQ, Glamour, Vogue, and Tatler.

Facebook hasn’t disclosed how much money it will be investing in the scheme but The Guardian reports that some publishers are expected to make millions of pounds a year, with Facebook’s annual bill running into the tens of millions.

Facebook says it is also in ‘active negotiations’ to bring its News offering to publishers in France and Germany.

Alongside the launch of News, Facebook has pledged an additional £2.25m to support local journalism in the UK, extending its Community News Programme, which has helped to train 80 local journalists across the nation in the past two years.