Media company ACM has struck a deal with Facebook to provide its news coverage of Canberra and Australia's key regional population centres to millions of online readers through Facebook News.
ACM, the publisher of this masthead, announced on Tuesday that it had signed a letter of intent with the social media giant for use of news articles and other content published by more than 40 of its titles, including The Canberra Times, Newcastle Herald, Illawarra Mercury, Ballarat's The Courier and Bendigo Advertiser in Victoria and Tasmania's The Examiner and The Advocate.
The agreement, subject to the signing of a long-form deal between the companies, is a multi-year arrangement to secure premium Australian journalism for Facebook's upcoming news product.
ACM managing director Tony Kendall said the support of Facebook would enable ACM "to continue to build our digital platforms and grow our audience for our original news".
"We're passionate about keeping our communities strong, informed and connected and this partnership will ensure our trusted regional and rural news will reach new audiences," Mr Kendall said.
Facebook News - a separate feed containing only news - is expected to be introduced to Australian users by the end of the year.
Facebook Australia and New Zealand's news partnership lead Andrew Hunter said the letter of intent with ACM "solidifies our partnership and gives us access to premium local news to support our upcoming Facebook News product that we plan to bring to Australia".
"We are committed to help publishers reach news audiences and build sustainable business models," Mr Hunter said.
"We are continuing to invest in programs to support journalism and our agreement with ACM continues our work with the news community in Australia."
Financial terms of Facebook's deal with ACM have not been disclosed.
The global platform has done deals or signed letters of intent with six other Australian news organisations so far: Seven West Media, News Corp, Sky News, Schwartz Media, Private Media and Solstice Media.
Under the landmark News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code passed by federal parliament at the end of February, Google and Facebook are required to make commercial agreements to pay Australian news businesses for their content or risk hefty fines of up to 10 per cent of their annual revenues.
Facebook made global headlines in mid-February when it blocked all news content on its platform in Australia before Treasurer Josh Frydenberg negotiated last-minute amendments to the code with the social network's founder Mark Zuckerberg.
ACM has already partnered with Google to curate the journalism of its 14 daily mastheads for users of the global search giant's Google News Showcase platform.
Victoria's Times News Group, operator of seven free weekly newspapers including Surf Coast Times and Geelong Times, is the latest Australian publisher to sign a content agreement with Google.
"Our partnership demonstrates our enthusiasm for supporting quality local news through News Showcase," Google's Asia-Pacific head of news, web and publishing product partnerships Kate Beddoe said.
Last week, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission granted small regional and local newspapers permission to bargain collectively with Google and Facebook through the Country Press Association.