The logos of Facebook and Google apps displayed on a tablet.
Denis Charlet | AFP via Getty Images
LONDON – Facebook announced on Tuesday it will begin launching Facebook News in the UK and will pay publishers for their content.
Facebook News is a special section of the Facebook app that contains personalized and selected news from hundreds of national, local and lifestyle publications.
Competing with Apple News, the product was launched in the US last June, making the UK the second country to access it.
Facebook claims that the product offers “informative, reliable and relevant news” to users, while also highlighting original and authoritative news on urgent issues. “
“This is the beginning of a series of international investments in news,” Jesper Doub, Facebook’s director of European news partnerships, said in a blog post on Tuesday.
“The product is a multi-year investment that puts original journalism before new audiences, as well as offering broadcasters more advertising and subscription opportunities to build sustainable businesses for the future.”
Facebook announced the UK launch of Facebook News in November and said it will deliver content from media partners such as Conde Nast, Hearst, The Economist, and Guardian Media Group.
On Tuesday, he said he was registered with Facebook, Channel 4 News, Daily Mail Group, DC Thomson, Financial Times, Sky News and Telegraph Media Group.
Some content that is normally behind a paywall can be viewed for free on Facebook News, which is expected to be released in more countries this year.
“We will continue to learn, listen and improve Facebook News as we expand in the UK and other markets, including France and Germany, where we have been actively negotiating with partners,” Doub said.
Tech giants like Facebook and Google are under pressure to pay media companies for their content.
A Facebook spokesperson told CNBC that the company would pay some UK broadcasts to post their content on Facebook News, but could not explain how much.
“We will pay some publishers to participate in Facebook News,” he said. “We are paying for content that is not currently available on the platform to reach a variety of coverage in various subject areas.”
He added: “For the majority of publishers who appear on Facebook News, monetization will be similar to monetization from other Facebook tabs, forcing people to hit a paywall, from referral traffic to ads on your sites or Instant Articles.”
Last week, Google signed an agreement to pay French publishing companies and news agencies for their content.
The deal came after several months of negotiations between Google France and media groups represented by France’s Alliance de la Presse d’Information Generale.
Google said it will negotiate individual licenses for open access to a new mobile service from the company called News Showcase, which covers rights related to members of the alliance.
The search giant said last year that it would pay news publishers for the first time, a tack change that the internet giant refused to make for years. The company has agreed to a series of start-up deals in Germany, Australia and Brazil and now seems to be expanding it to France.
But when the Australian Government proposed a new law that would force Google and Facebook to pay news publishers for the right to link to their content, Google threatened to pull the widely used search engine out of the country.
“Combined with unmanageable financial and operational risk, if this version of the Code went into law, it wouldn’t give us a real choice, but it would stop making Google Search available in Australia,” said Mel Silva, general manager of Google Australia and New Zealand, told the senate committee last week told.
“We are not responding to threats,” Australian prime minister Scott Morrison said at a press conference.
– Additional report by CNBC’s Ryan Browne.