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Microscope on Facebook for dumping Australian news

Facebook's decision to stop funding Australian journalism will come under parliamentary scrutiny.

Facebook's decision to stop funding Australian journalism will come under parliamentary scrutiny. Photo: AAP

Facebook’s decision to stop funding Australian journalism is expected to come under the microscope at a parliamentary committee into social networks.

The Social Media and Australian Society inquiry’s first public hearing will take place on Friday, with major media outlets Nine Entertainment, News Corp, and Seven West Media due to give evidence in Canberra.

The inquiry comes after Facebook’s parent company Meta announced in March it would not renew commercial deals with publishers, in a move estimated to have cost the industry $70 million.

Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones at the time said the federal government would take “all of the steps available to it under the News Media Bargaining Code” to get the tech giant back to the negotiating table with media companies.

The social media inquiry, established on May 16, will also hear from regional media outlets, as well as regulators including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Australian Communications and Media Authority, and eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant.

In addition to probing tech giants’ deals with news companies, the parliamentary committee is expected to investigate proposals to limit children’s access to social networks, probe social media’s effect on mental health, and consider harmful and illegal content on digital platforms.

The committee is due to present an interim report to parliament by August 15, and a final report by November 18.

—AAP

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