Facebook starts rolling out Facebook News to UK users and paying publishers for content


The logos of Facebook and Google apps displayed on a tablet.

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LONDON — Facebook announced it will start rolling out its Facebook News product in the U.K. on Tuesday, and will pay publishers for their content.

Facebook News is a dedicated section within the Facebook app that features curated and personalized news from hundreds of national, local and lifestyle publications.

The product, which competes with Apple News, launched in the U.S. last June and the U.K. is the second country to get access to it.

Facebook claims the product delivers “informative, reliable and relevant news” to users “while also highlighting original and authoritative reporting on pressing topics.”

Jesper Doub, Facebook’s European director of news partnerships, said in a blog post on Tuesday: “This is the beginning of a series of international investments in news.”

He added: “The product is a multi-year investment that puts original journalism in front of new audiences as well as providing publishers with more advertising and subscription opportunities to build sustainable businesses for the future.”

Facebook announced the U.K. launch of Facebook News in November, saying it would feature content from media partners including Conde Nast, Hearst, The Economist, and Guardian Media Group.

On Tuesday, Facebook said it has now signed up Channel 4 News, Daily Mail Group, DC Thomson, Financial Times, Sky News and Telegraph Media Group.

Some content that is normally behind a paywall is free to view on Facebook News, which is expected to launch in more countries this year.

“We’ll continue to learn, listen and improve Facebook News as it rolls out across the U.K. and into other markets, including France and Germany, where we are in active negotiations with partners,” said Doub.

Tech giants like Facebook and Google are under increasing pressure to pay media companies for their content.

A Facebook spokesperson told CNBC that the company will pay certain U.K. publications to feature their content in Facebook News, but he was unable to reveal how much.

“We will pay some publishers to participate in Facebook News,” he said. “We’re paying for content which is not already on the platform in order to achieve a diverse set of coverage across a range of topic areas.”

He added: “Monetization for the majority of publishers appearing in Facebook News will be similar to monetization via other Facebook tabs, from referral traffic to your sites or ads in Instant Articles, pushing people to hit a paywall.”

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