News Corp leaders, Mr. Thomson added, had “led a global debate” as the rise of the digital giants had impoverished the news industry. With the deal, he said, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, and his team had helped “fashion a future for journalism, which has been under extreme duress.”
Critics said, however, that the deal did little to guarantee the kind of public-interest journalism touted by the Australian government when it proposed the legislation, which was approved last month.
“There’s no guarantee that the public’s going to benefit,” said Tanya Notley, a senior lecturer in communication at Western Sydney University, who noted that the first major news companies to strike deals with Facebook were conservative and aligned with the current government.
Others said it further emphasized the inordinate power of social media companies to control news and public information. “They are the gatekeepers to the news for public consumption,” said Marc Cheong, who researches digital ethics at the University of Melbourne.
In a statement, Facebook said the agreements would help people gain access to news articles and breaking-news videos from a network of national, metropolitan, rural and suburban newsrooms.