Facebook Offers Top News Outlets Millions of Dollars Annually to License Content

ABC News, the Washington Post, and others have been pitched by the social media giant

Last Updated: August 9, 2019 @ 12:18 PM

Facebook is seeking to license content from news outlets like ABC News and the Washington Post for millions of dollars, a person familiar with the company’s plans confirmed to TheWrap.

Facebook wants to launch a news section later this year and has signaled to executives at some outlets that it’s willing to pay annual licensing fees of as much as $3 million for the rights to headlines and article previews, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The person familiar with Facebook’s news push confirmed the company is looking to launch a new news tab later this year featuring what it deems “trustworthy news” to users, as CNBC reported on Thursday.

ABC News, Bloomberg, the Washington Post and Dow Jones (which owns the Wall Street Journal) are among the companies pitched by Facebook, according to the person familiar with Facebook’s plans. The social network’s revamped news push comes as it continues to face criticism for its handling of news-sharing on its platform.

To fight fake news in the past, the social network built internal tracking tools to flag potentially edited content, which it will share with its 27 third-party fact checkers for review. A 2016 effort to stem the tide of misinformation and fake news that had been allowed to percolate on the platform by partnering with fact-checking and news organizations fell into “disarray” by last December, according to The Guardian.

Facebook has also been criticized for syphoning money and eyeballs from news outlets. In January, Facebook pledged $300 million to help local news outlets invest in their newsrooms and “build sustainable business models.”

In June, a group of political news sites, both conservative and liberal, joined together to form the Digital News Alliance, an advertising sales partnership designed to help the likes of Daily Caller and Raw Story compete with not only Facebook, but Google, too.

Those familiar with the new news venture told the Journal that Facebook has considered giving outlets discretion over how their content would look in the news tab, which aims to launch in the fall.

It is unclear how many, if any, outlets have signed on.

Representatives for Facebook did not immediately return requests for comment.

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