Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is reportedly in talks with several news outlets pay millions of dollars in exchange for the rights to display their content on its platform. According to published reports, Facebook representatives offered news executives as much as $3 million a year to license stories, headlines, and other material in licensing deals that would last for three years. It was not clear as to whether Facebook was offering $3 million to individual publishers or in total to all news organizations.
According to reports, outlets approached by Facebook included The Washington Post, Bloomberg, Dow Jones, and Disney-owned ABC News. A person familiar with the matter said that BuzzFeed and CNN were also talking with Facebook about the proposal. It’s unclear if any media outlets have agreed to sign on. A Facebook spokesperson said that they wouldn’t comment on reports about offers to media outlets.
Facebook confirmed that the company is working on launching a “news tab” to deliver “trustworthy news” to the social network’s users this fall. The news tab would be placed alongside its News Feed, Messenger and Watch tabs. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg referenced having a news section on the service back in April. Zuckerberg wrote at the time: “It’s important to me that we help people get trustworthy news and find solutions that help journalists around the world do their important work.”
Facebook has been criticized for years for using content created by the news industry for free while sucking up a large portion of the digital ad dollars the news industry needs to survive. Facebook and Google have been the two dominant forces in digital advertising for years, and Amazon is quickly rising up the ranks. Congress recently introduced a bipartisan bill that would let news companies join forces to negotiate payments from the big tech platforms by granting them an antitrust exemption.