Facebook says it will pay French publishers for news content

PARIS  — Facebook said today that it has struck a deal with a group of French publishers to pay for links to their news stories that are shared by people on the social network.

The company says it inked the licensing agreement with the Alliance de la Presse d’Information Generale, which represents 300 French publishers, to “improve the quality of online information for Internet users and publishers on Facebook.”

The financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Facebook also said it would launch in January a French version of its Facebook News product, where the group’s publishers could allow their stories to appear.

The licensing deal is the result of a wider push by authorities in Europe and elsewhere to force Facebook and other social media companies to compensate publishers for content. Governments have been responding to news outlets’ complaints that internet companies are getting rich at their expense, selling advertising linked to their reports without sharing revenue.

France was the first of the European Union’s 27 nations to adopt the bloc’s 2019 copyright directive, which outlines a way for publishers and news companies to strike licensing deals with online platforms.

Google signed a similar framework deal with the alliance this year, but talks over licensing payments bogged down, leading French regulators to slap Google with a hefty fine for not negotiating in good faith with publishers.