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Facebook snubs SBS, The Conversation on content deals – Sydney Morning Herald

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Social media giant Facebook has shot down requests to negotiate content deals with multicultural broadcaster SBS and not-for-profit online publication The Conversation without providing any specific reasons for its refusal.

Both organisations have been trying to secure payment for the use of their content on the US$1.1 trillion online platform for months, but were told several weeks ago that no negotiations would take place, and no deals would be done.

Facebook has told two key local news outlets they will not negotiate for use of content.

Facebook has told two key local news outlets they will not negotiate for use of content.Credit:Matt Rourke

“SBS is surprised and disappointed that Facebook has declined to enter negotiations to seek a commercial agreement with SBS in relation to its news content,” an SBS spokesperson said.

“We are concerned about the impact on our audiences and discoverability of SBS content on the Facebook platform, noting that many of our audiences access SBS through Facebook. This outcome is at odds with the Government’s intention of supporting public interest journalism, and in particular including the public service broadcasters in the Code framework with respect to remuneration.”

The Conversation’s chief executive Lisa Watts said the refusal was an indication that Facebook was doing the bare minimum to ensure the government did not scrutinise it.

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“I think they’ve just sought to avoid arbitration by sealing several multimillion dollar deals with major influential media companies and feel they’ve done enough to avoid it,” Ms Watts said.

The federal government’s news media bargaining code was legislated in February and was designed to force Google and Facebook into commercial talks with large and small news media companies for the use of articles in the search engine and newsfeed.

Under the laws, the tech giants can be slapped with financial penalties for failing to comply. However, because of concessions made by the federal government to ensure Facebook kept news on its platform and Google did not withdraw search from the market altogether, the laws do not currently apply to either of the tech giants.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will decide early next year whether the laws should apply to Facebook and Google, based on their efforts to secure deals.

Facebook has signed deals with a range of large-scale and small outlets, including News Corp Australia, Nine Entertainment Co (owner of this masthead), the ABC, Guardian Australia and Junkee Media. Google has done the same, but has also struck deals with SBS and The Conversation. Ms Watts described the process with Google as “collegiate” and in the “spirit of the code”.

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She said she was surprised by the complete refusal of Facebook to negotiate, after months of assurance that they would be able to start talks. She added the absence of reasons for the refusal was also confusing. The Conversation, which publishes articles from academic authors, has about 9.4 million unique users each month, based on data from Google Analytics.

SBS managing director James Taylor was also informed Facebook would not negotiate.

SBS managing director James Taylor was also informed Facebook would not negotiate.Credit:Nick Moir

“We’ve had a very positive relationship with Facebook over the last few years,” Ms Watts said. “But then when we finally got a chance to have a recent meeting, they basically just wouldn’t give a reason [to refuse negotiations]. They just said ‘we had to draw a line somewhere’.”

“One would assume that they’ve looked at The Conversation and SBS, and for whatever reason thought that there’s not enough political kind of interest in supporting them,” she added.

“We publish about 300-400 pieces a month. That’s basically three or 400 leading experts or academics who are sharing their expertise with the Australian public. It’s important as often it is about correcting misinformation or falsehoods.”

The refusal came from Facebook’s local head of news partnerships, Andrew Hunter, and Facebook’s director of news partnerships for APAC, Anjali Kapoor.

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“[Facebook] just said ‘we had to draw a line somewhere’.”

The Conversation CEO Lisa Watts

SBS and The Conversation are the latest news outlets to be snubbed by Facebook’s after approaching it to discuss remuneration for their content. Popular lifestyle websites Broadsheet Media, The Urban List and Concrete Playground have previously said they could be forced to consolidate after Facebook shut down requests for funding to support their journalism.

Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg recently intervened in some negotiations between Facebook and small outlets after they were unable to reach an agreement. Mr Bragg has received just one response from five letters sent to Facebook executives over the past six months.

Senator Bragg said the least big tech companies like Facebook and Google could do was keep their promises.

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“Big tech companies can be impossible to deal with. It’s like trying to get Telecom to fix something in the 1990s. More regulation will be the consequence of inaction,” Mr Bragg told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. “Australia will reserve our right to further regulate big tech to fix these issues.”

Ms Watts said that without designation, there is nothing she or SBS executives can do about the refusal. “You’ve got no levers to pull,” she said. “If we could get designation by the Treasurer and go to an arbitrator… there’d be a panel and the position, and we would have an offer that would be accepted by that panel.

“I imagine that Facebook are betting that they can demonstrate through their existing deals with the people that they have negotiated with keen avoid that designation.”

Facebook has come under fierce scrutiny in the past week after a Wall Street Journal series that reviewed internal Facebook documents found the company is fully aware of the harm it causes. The New York Times reported this week chief executive Mark Zuckerberg last month signed off on a new initiative code-named Project Amplify, which uses Facebook’s news feed to show people positive stories about the social network.

Facebook could not respond before deadline.

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

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Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

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Facebook Owner Meta Launches New Platform, Safety Hub to Protect Women in India

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Meta (formerly Facebook) on Thursday announced a slew of steps to protect woman users on its platform, including the launch of StopNCII.org in India that aims to combat the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII).

Meta has also launched the Women’s Safety Hub, which will be available in Hindi and 11 other Indian languages, that will enable more women users in India to access information about tools and resources that can help them make the most of their social media experience, while staying safe online.

This initiative by Meta will ensure women do not face a language barrier in accessing information Karuna Nain, director (global safety policy) at Meta Platforms, told reporters here.

“Safety is an integral part of Meta’s commitment to building and offering a safe online experience across the platforms and over the years the company has introduced several industry leading initiatives to protect users online.

“Furthering our effort to bolster the safety of users, we are bringing in a number of initiatives to ensure online safety of women on our platforms,” she added.

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StopNCII.org is a platform that aims to combat the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII).

“It gives victims control. People can come to this platform proactively, hash their intimate videos and images, share their hashes back with the platform and participating companies,” Nain said.

She explained that the platform doesn’t receive any photos and videos, and instead what they get is the hash or unique digital fingerprint/unique identifier that tells the company that this is a known piece of content that is violating. “We can proactively keep a lookout for that content on our platforms and once it”s uploaded, our review team check what”s really going on and take appropriate action if it violates our policies,” she added.

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In partnership with UK Revenge Porn Helpline, StopNCII.org builds on Meta’s NCII Pilot, an emergency programme that allows potential victims to proactively hash their intimate images so they can”t be proliferated on its platforms.

The first-of-its-kind platform, has partnered with global organisations to support the victims of NCII. In India, the platform has partnered with organisations such as Social Media Matters, Centre for Social Research, and Red Dot Foundation.

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Nain added that the company is hopeful that this becomes an industrywide initiative, so that victims can just come to this one central place to get help and support and not have to go to each and every tech platform, one by one to get help and support.

Also, Bishakha Datta (executive editor of Point of View) and Jyoti Vadehra from Centre for Social Research are the first Indian members in Meta”s Global Women”s Safety Expert Advisors. The group comprises 12 other non-profit leaders, activists, and academic experts from different parts of the world and consults Meta in the development of new policies, products and programmes to better support women on its apps.

“We are confident that with our ever-growing safety measures, women will be able to enjoy a social experience which will enable them to learn, engage and grow without any challenges.

“India is an important market for us and bringing Bishakha and Jyoti onboard to our Women”s Safety Expert Advisory Group will go a long way in further enhancing our efforts to make our platforms safer for women in India,” Nain said.

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Facebook Adds New Trend Insights in Creator Studio, Which Could Help Shape Your Posting Strategy

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Facebook’s looking to provide more content insight within Creator Studio with the rollout of a new ‘Inspiration Hub’ element, which highlights trending content and hashtags within categories related to your business Page.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

As you can see in these screenshots, posted by social media expert Matt Navarra, when it becomes available to you, you’ll be able to access the new Inspiration Hub from the Home tab in Creator Studio.

At the right side of the screen, you can see the first of the new insights, with trending hashtags and videos from the last 24 hours, posted by Pages similar to yours, displayed above a ‘See more’ prompt.

When you tap through to the new hub, you’ll have a range of additional filters to check out trending content from across Facebook, including Page category, content type, region, and more.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

That could be hugely valuable in learning what Facebook users are responding to, and what people within your target market are engaging with in the app.

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The Hub also includes insights into trending hashtags, within your chosen timeframe, which may further assist in tapping into trending discussions.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

How valuable hashtags are on Facebook is still up for debate, but you’ll also note that you can filter the displayed results by platform, so you can additionally display Instagram hashtag trends as well, which could be very valuable in maximizing your reach.

Much of this type of info has been available within CrowdTangle, Facebook’s analytics platform for journalists, for some time, but not everyone can access CrowdTangle data, which could make this an even more valuable proposition for many marketers.

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Of course, overall performance really relates to your own creative, and thinking through the action that you want your audience to take when reading your posts. But in terms of detecting new content trends, including hashtag usage, caption length, videos versus image posts, and more, there’s a lot that could be gleaned from these tools and filters.

It’s a significant analytics addition – we’ve asked Facebook for more info on the rollout of the new option, and whether it’s already beyond test mode, etc. We’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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