This got me thinking about paywalls and crawlers, and why Apple News was not included in the Australian hoopla. Google and Facebook crawl anything, everything and anywhere on the web to gather content for their news services; though they do give publishers the ability to register to submit content. Apple News and News+ only work with partners that have been carefully chosen by their editorial board. Every article that appears on the site is carefully vetted and selected by a group of editors. Publications can submit articles and videos, and they have the option of granting News permission to crawl their sites for content; not all partners agree to be crawled.
Apple has always shared revenue with its partners; publishers get 100% of ad revenue they sell, 70% of ads that Apple sells, as well as the standard 30/15% cut for subscriptions. Google and Facebook just inked deals with Australia because of the threatened legislation; the compensation negotiated has not been disclosed.
Content in Google and Facebook’s News is heavily powered by artificial intelligence. Though they do allow publishers to submit content, from what I’ve heard (I’m not a Facebook member or a Google news reader), neither service is carefully vetted like Apple News is; conspiracy theories, falsehoods and objectionable content abounds. Both are very heavily on artificial intelligence to select and serve content. Both are relentless crawlers of the web to gather news to serve to members. Tracking members and serving targeted ads on all their properties is how they make money:
All the information Facebook and Google gather from their news services goes into the humongous tracking databases Google and Facebook have accumulated, which contribute significantly to their bottom lines. Apple News is, at the very best, probably marginally profitable; it exists primarily to help Apple sell its expensive hardware.