The Facebook Journalism Project and the Google News Initiative’s era of dominance in the news industry, at least in its most recent iteration, has ended. Facebook has divorced itself from news, shuttering its journalism program and deprecating its news-related products and services. While the GNI continues to direct some funds to US news associations, its commitment to journalism nowadays is mostly channeled to its Google News Showcase, available in 22 countries, as well as novel AI-fueled solutions, like tools pitched to major publishers to support journalists writing news articles. At the same time, Google also continues to invest in its journalism and AI partnerships and fellowships, and building AI into its core products.

We’ve witnessed AI’s meteoric rise over the past year in terms of development, deployment, and policymaking considerations. As newsrooms consider ways to ethically integrate AI into their journalism, and regulatory bodies around the world consider developing standards for the same uses, some of the largest AI-developers are getting into the news business. In July, OpenAI signed a deal with the Associated Press to license its news stories. Shortly thereafter, the ChatGPT-maker committed $5 million to the American Journalism Project to explore how AI “can support a thriving, innovative local news field.” And recently, global news publisher Axel Springer penned a deal with OpenAI allowing ChatGPT to summarize its news stories.

It seems increasingly likely that Silicon Valley’s latest industry disruptors will do the same with the news business. How can journalism, as it dives headfirst into the age of AI, learn from platforms and publishers’ fraught past? And what potential implications for news media should policymakers consider as they develop and enforce newer regulatory frameworks like the AI Act and the Digital Services Act in the EU?

Our panel brings together experts from Canada, Europe, and the US to discuss:

1. A post-mortem of the FJP and GNI’s role as global journalism funders over the past decade, the topic of Emily Bell and Taylor Owen’s forthcoming book in 2024.

2. Google’s increasing investments in AI and journalism as well as a newfound ‘value’ in journalism for AI-driven companies.

3. The state of platform regulation, particularly news media bargaining codes that were passed in Australia and most recently Canada (Bill C-18), while countries like South Africa and Brazil consider similar bills.

4. How new regulatory frameworks across the EU, beyond the scope of ‘bargaining code’-like laws, are partly outsourcing the enforceability of online regulation to platforms, and what this will mean for the relationship between news media and social media companies e.g. the European Media Freedom Act’s provisions that regulate the relationship between platforms and publishers in regards to content moderation and the use of generative AI by news media.

5. The risk dominant AI companies pose for journalism ‘capture’ by adopting Google and Facebook’s playbook of distributing money to publishers to curry goodwill as it enters the news industry.

This panel aims to draw parallels between the social media platform duopoly’s global impact on journalism with AI developers’ growing role in news media, all within a new technological and regulatory environment.

Moderated by Gabby Miller.