Saturday, December 4

Meta launches program to support New Zealand news organizations

Facebook’s new parent company Meta has announced a four-part program to support journalism in New Zealand.

The meta logo displayed on a phone screen and the Facebook icon displayed on a laptop screen are seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on October 29, 2021.

Photo: AFP

The program includes an Audience Development Accelerator and Grant Fund, the establishment of a News Innovation Advisory Group, and the provision of dedicated digital training for news organizations around engagement.

The fund aims to enable the media to develop sustainable business models.

Facebook’s head of public policy for Australia and New Zealand, Mia Garlick, said it will bring together 12 editors from regional, digital and culturally diverse publications.

“So they can come together and try to innovate and learn from the experts and really collaborate on new strategies to drive business growth both on and off Facebook.”

They would also partner with the International Center for Journalists to establish the advisory group, which would provide advice as they implement the grant program, Garlick said.

On November 26, the program will host the first Meta NZ News Day event, designed to provide dedicated training to all newsrooms across the country, he said.

The program would also look at what additional investments Meta could make in innovation, video and technology to promote newsroom sustainability in New Zealand, he said.

Facebook has been successfully collaborating with various New Zealand publishers for the past few years and has created custom products to help news organizations monetize their products on the company’s platforms, he said.

“What we’re really trying to do now is recognize that the goal in New Zealand is to support a sustainable, diverse and robust ecosystem, so we want to make sure we offer different solutions for publishers, no matter where they are on their transformation journey. digital “.

No ‘dollar figure’ in program contribution to New Zealand

Meta worked in three ways with publishers in all countries, Garlick said.

First, publishers choose what content to share, which brought distribution back to their media, second, there were custom tools, such as in-stream video ads, where revenue is shared with publishers, and third Instead, there were trade programs and agreements, he said.

When asked if this was a preemptive agreement to block New Zealand media organizations asking Facebook to pay them for content, as has happened with some organizations in Australia, Garlick said publishers choose what content to share. and Facebook did not pay for this “organic distribution” of content in any country.

“Where we are investing, it is focused on something new and additional than simple organic distribution, which is obviously done at the publisher’s choice and therefore integrated into their overall business strategy.”

Garlick said it was difficult to calculate exactly how much Meta would be contributing to New Zealand media through the program, but the goal was to “support publishers in digital transformation and building sustainable newsrooms.”

“Globally, worldwide, we have sent 180 billion clicks to news publishers, which is roughly equivalent to NZ $ 12.5 billion globally.”

Strategies to eliminate misinformation

There were a number of strategies to prevent potentially litigious or false comments from being posted, Garlick said.

Meta was very supportive of updating defamation laws for the digital age, he said.

The other aspect was trying to help all page administrators to better moderate their comments, he said.

“So what we did in March of this year is we released a tool that allows page owners, including publishers, [turn] disable comments on a post per post “.

Facebook removed harmful health information related to Covid-19 and vaccine issues, plus page administrators had the ability to set their own custom filters, Garlick said.

Facebook had been working with health experts around the world and in New Zealand to find out which claims were harmful and should be removed in relation to Covid-19, he said.

“We invested significant resources to make sure we removed them and then we invested in fact checkers and we also have fact checkers working across New Zealand, and when they classify content as false, including Covid misinformation and vaccines, then that will happen. Reduce your distribution and people who have shared misinformation are notified. “

Garlick said Meta was investing significant resources to try to make sure it was acting on misinformation.

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