Facebook’s small sacrifice to Australia helps keep empire intact

In acceding to pay some news publishers, and securing for itself the freedom to choose which ones, Facebook is making a small sacrifice to keep its larger ad empire intact. The company had more than US$85bil (RM343.35bil) in revenue last year, almost all of it coming from online advertising. — AFP

Australia on Feb 25 passed a world-first law aimed at forcing Google and Facebook Inc to pay for news. But after a forceful intervention from the world’s biggest social network, the reality is Silicon Valley’s titans are paying a small price for cementing their influence over the media industry.

In a high-stakes gambit, Facebook blocked the sharing of news links in Australia and from Australian publishers, sapping traffic to their websites and putting pressure on the government to soften its proposed legislation. Lawmakers did exactly that, and while it’s too early to declare a clear winner from the confrontation, Facebook is walking away satisfied that it didn’t have to cede too much ground.

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