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Facebook Responds to ‘Counterproductive’ Australian News Content Revenue-Sharing Regulation


Back in April, when the Australian Government announced its proposed new regulatory reforms that would essentially force both Google and Facebook to share a portion of their revenue with Australian news publishers for use of their news coverage, in different forms, on their respective platforms, we noted that:

“In all likelihood, neither Google nor Facebook will be intending to make a switch in their approaches, and will instead seek to alter their processes in accordance with revised local laws. That could lead to significant changes in the way content is displayed on the digital giants, which, if anything, will only take traffic away from the traditional media players, and provide more instead to less mainstream outlets.”

That, indeed, appears to be what’s going to happen. This week, in its response to the Australian Government’s proposed changes, Facebook has issued a strong rebuke, criticizing the draft laws, the regulators, the Australian Government – basically anyone who’s had anything to do with the proposal.

And Facebook’s right – for example, in his opening statement, Facebook Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Will Easton says:

“Australia is drafting a new regulation that misunderstands the dynamics of the internet and will do damage to the very news organizations the government is trying to protect. When crafting this new legislation, the commission overseeing the process ignored important facts, most critically the relationship between the news media and social media and which one benefits most from the other.”

This is the absolute crux of the issue at hand – the Australian Government’s proposed regulation is reliant on the fact that Facebook and Google need content from Australian news publishers in order to continue operating as they currently do. Which is not correct. Both Facebook and Google could simply block the URLs of these providers, and they’d still be highly used by Australians. 

What Google did in France, which proposed similar regulations last year, was that it implemented a new system which meant that only news publishers that had explicitly agreed to its terms would be displayed in search resuilts. That’s some pretty lucrative digital real estate to have, so naturally, many publishers agreed. Some didn’t, and they no longer get referral traffic from Google. Most did, negating years of disputes and negotiations.

Google may end up doing the same in Australia – while Facebook, right now at least, is saying that it too is considering eliminating content from Australian news outlets entirely.

Assuming this draft code becomes law, we will reluctantly stop allowing publishers and people in Australia from sharing local and international news on Facebook and Instagram. This is not our first choice – it is our last. But it is the only way to protect against an outcome that defies logic and will hurt, not help, the long-term vibrancy of Australia’s news and media sector.”

Will that lead to people using Facebook and Instagram less? Probably not – it’ll no doubt have some impact on overall engagement. But the ones that will really feel the pinch are the news publishers, the organizations that the regulations are supposed to be helping.

Which is why the proposal, as Facebook notes, is “counterproductive”. 

The proposed law is unprecedented in its reach and seeks to regulate every aspect of how tech companies do business with news publishers. Most perplexing, it would force Facebook to pay news organizations for content that the publishers voluntarily place on our platforms and at a price that ignores the financial value we bring publishers.” 

Easton even has the specific stats to prove his point:

Over the first five months of 2020 we sent 2.3 billion clicks from Facebook’s News Feed back to Australian news websites at no charge – additional traffic worth an estimated $200 million AUD to Australian publishers.”

Easton also notes that Facebook has invested millions into Australian news businesses, and had also been hoping to open up new opportunities with the expansion of Facebook’s dedicated News Tab to Australian users, for which it pays publishers for content.

Now, those plans are on hold, at least for the time being.

“Facebook products and services in Australia that allow family and friends to connect will not be impacted by this decision. Our global commitment to quality news around the world will not change either. And we will continue to work with governments and regulators who rightly hold our feet to the fire. But successful regulation, like the best journalism, will be grounded in and built on facts. In this instance, it is not.”

Facebook’s tough words follow a public campaign from Google which seeks to alert Australian users to other potential impacts of the coming regulatory changes.

Google Australia News Campaign

In essence, both Facebook and Google are saying that the only outcome, if the Australian Government pushes forward with this proposal, will hurt local news publishers, not help them. And while others may seek to play down these responses as scaremongering to protect their own interests, it is grounded fact. As private enterprises, Facebook and Google are under no obligation to display content from any source they don’t choose to.

How you view each stance then will come down to whether you believe that news content is critical to both platforms, or not. The scale of each platform’s operations outside of news material should be evidence enough to indicate that losing such will not be a death blow for either.

But it could be for the publishers – the impetus behind the proposal is that Australian news publishers are losing revenue as their traditional ad streams dry up, with more companies switching to online promotional sources instead of classifieds and print ads. Those losses have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 shutdowns, and with the sector crying out for help, it appears that the Australian Government sees this as a lifeline.

But the blunt basis of the proposal is that Facebook and Google make lots of money, while news publishers don’t. The detail in between seems to have largely been overlooked, including how, exactly, news publishers benefit from these platforms.

Really, there’s no equitable way for Facebook nor Google to approach this. If they negotiate, in any way, that will open the floodgates for every other nation to implement the same, potentially costing them billions each year. Which they just don’t have to pay – and while the Australian Government looks set to push ahead in its game of chicken, hoping that Facebook or Google will pull out, the final outcome could be very bad for the Australian news sector.

It’s a gamble that’s unlikely to pay off as the Government might hope. Now we wait and see if there’s any change in course from the regulators.  



Social Responsibility And Ethics In Influencer Marketing


Social Responsibility And Ethics In Influencer Marketing

Chief Growth Officer (CGO) at HypeFactory, a global influencer marketing agency.

It’s no secret that influencer marketing popularity has skyrocketed over the past couple of years, and partnering with influencers isn’t a new concept. Just over the past year, the industry was valued at $16.4 billion and still keeps growing, with a whopping revenue forecast of $143.10 billion in 2030.

Since the beginning of influencer marketing, people have talked about how influencers and social responsibility fit together. It stands to reason that influential people would use their large fan bases to help others. However, when influencers and businesses collaborate, they each have specific responsibilities to the communities in which they operate.

Sponsorship Transparency And Gender Stereotypes

One of the most critical skills for an influencer is honesty. Influencers base their marketing strategy on being genuine and sharing personal tales and thoughts with their target audience. They are not celebrities living in a bubble of fame that very few of their followers will ever reach; instead, they live lifestyles that are reachable and use items that their viewers would find helpful. This approach has significantly contributed to their immense level of success.

However, many influencers don’t play by the rules, especially when it comes to impressing brands they’ve made deals with, even though transparency is essential to the sustainability of an influencer’s career. Because of this, many people would think that the most important ethical issue in influencer marketing is sponsorship disclosure.

The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the United Kingdom have all put out rules about how influencers should be honest in their posts and about their relationships with brands. If you disobey the regulations, you risk facing penalties, fines and legal bills. You also risk losing the trust of your customers for good.

Moreover, when doing influencer marketing, it’s essential to consider gender stereotypes and how people usually think men and women will act in different situations. The Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) has said that since June 2019, marketing materials could no longer show men and women in ways that are based on stereotypes. These rules state that ads “must not use gender stereotypes that are likely to hurt or offend a large number of people.” Great campaigns, like Nike’s “Dream Crazier,” have challenged gender preconceptions.

Improving Influencer Marketing’s Reliability And Authenticity

Authenticity is essential in influencer marketing. People listen to influencers who are honest and relatable. In addition to the moral problems I mentioned above, brands and influencers must also follow FTC rules, community guidelines and terms of service on social media platforms.

Based on my experience as a chief growth officer at a global influencer marketing agency, here are some things brands must consider for influencer partnerships that are authentic and reliable.

Outline—and stick to—the ethical principles that your brand stands for.

Before you can begin your search for the ideal influencers, you must first understand the core principles of representing your business. Most businesses start by determining their values and ethics early on. They then use these to build their brand identity. It’s up to each company’s brand to decide where they will draw the line and how they will show their core values on social media.

However, consumers place a high value on consistent honesty. Customers are likely to call out your company for being hypocritical if it says it wants to fight racism but then partners with an influencer who has a history of making small slights against people of color. Or if your company promotes equal pay yet pays female influencers less than it does male influencers, contributing to the continuation of the pay gap between male and female influencers.

As a result, you will likely lose the trust of these customers.

Collaborate with real influencers.

One of the most effective ways to stick to influencer marketing principles is by collaborating with real-life influencers. Choosing the right influencers is crucial for building consumer confidence in your product.

Determine which influencers are authentic and have credibility with your intended audience. Specifically, it would be best to look at how many people engage with their content and how good it is. Even though engagement numbers are essential, they only tell part of the story about an influencer’s reliability. Please pay close attention to their writing style, the brands they’ve worked with, the accuracy of their reviews, etc.

Develop a long-term partnership.

When you’ve found a group of genuine, influential people with whom you can collaborate successfully, it’s crucial to keep in touch with them over time. Even if they are paid to review a product, genuine influencers always give honest opinions. Because they follow all the rules, the spectator can have more faith in them.

Consequently, after a shortlist of influencers has been compiled, you should perform authenticity checks. Check their content feed for branded articles. Make sure that any disclaimers you find adhere to the first point’s disclosure guidelines. Consistently partnering with the same influencers demonstrates to customers that you value their brand’s success just as much as they do, which can increase consumer confidence in your business.


Authenticity serves as the cornerstone of the influencer marketing strategy. Influencers earn the trust of their followers and become successful when they always provide high-quality, authentic, relatable content.

In addition to the concerns over the morality of influencer marketing, brands and influencers must follow the criteria established by the FTC and the community guidelines and terms of service based on social media platforms. You can shield your brand from potential ethical and legal difficulties and still enjoy success with influencer marketing if you are aware of the expectations and follow certain best practices.

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?


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Key Notes on Building Your Brand via Your Social Profile Visuals [Infographic]


Key Notes on Building Your Brand via Your Social Profile Visuals [Infographic]

Looking to give your social profiles a visual refresh for the new year?

This could help – the team from Giraffe Social Media recently put together an overview of the whys and hows of building your brand via your social profile visuals.

There are some good notes here – a key consideration is consistency, which ensures that you’re building your brand with every post and update.

Check out the full infographic below.


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Publicis Performance Marketing Unit Acquires Influencer Platform Perlu 01/30/2023


Publicis Performance Marketing Unit Acquires Influencer Platform Perlu 01/30/2023

Publicis Groupe-owned performance marketing agency CJ, which specializes in affiliate marketing, has acquired Perlu, a Syracuse, New York-based influencer networking and technology platform.
Perlu’s platform enables companies to activate, network, and collaborate with a community of influencers.   

Perlu will initially retain its name and organization as it is
integrated …


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