Facebook News to launch in UK next year

Facebook is launching its News tab in the UK in January in a move that’s expected to see the company pay news publishers tens of millions of pounds annually to license their articles, The Guardian reports. In an article announcing the launch, Facebook says it also aims to help publishers expand their audience, potentially benefiting both their subscriber numbers and ad revenue.

The social media giant says it’s already partnered with over a dozen publishers for the service including Guardian Media Group, Reach (who’s titles include the Daily Mirror, Daily Express, and local publications like the Manchester Evening News and the Liverpool Echo), The Economist, and Wired and GQ publisher Conde Nast. Notably absent from its list is Daily Mail owner DMGT and Rupert Murdoch’s News UK, The Guardian notes, though Facebook says it expects more publishers to sign up prior to launch.

For news publishers, the most important aspect of the service will likely be the payments Facebook says it will make to include their content. Although Facebook is declining to say how much money it’s expecting to pay as part of the scheme, The Guardian reports that some publishers are expecting to make millions of pounds a year from the service, at a cost to tens of millions of pounds to Facebook overall. The arrival of Facebook News in January comes after the service was rolled out in the United States in late 2019 and is part of plans to extend it worldwide, the US company said. Facebook’s director of news partnerships Jesper Doub said the company was “in active negotiations” to bring the feature to France and Germany.