FACEBOOK has been accused of threatening media firms into working with them by saying their businesses would end up "in a hospice" if they didn't.
Campbell Brown, Facebook's global head of news partnerships, is said to have told a group of Australian media executives that their businesses would die without their help, and that Mark Zuckerberg "doesn't care" about publishers.
According to The Australian, as part of a four-hour closed-door meeting with Ms Brown, the top exec for the social media giant said: "We will help you revitalise journalism … in a few years the reverse looks like I’ll be holding your hands with your dying business like in a hospice."
Five sources present at the meeting confirmed the comments.
She was also reported to have said: "Mark Zuckerberg doesn't care about publishers but is giving me a lot of leeway and concessions to make these changes".
She added: "“We are not interested in talking to you about your traffic and referrals anymore. That is the old world and there is no going back – Mark wouldn’t agree to this.”
Facebook strongly denies the reports and said the quotes were "not accurate" and have been "taken out of context." But they have not released transcripts of the meeting.
The social media firm has been under fire to do more to tackle fake news, as reports show that most people get their news from sites like Facebook.
A House of Commons probe recently said the tech giants must do more to root out harmful content and dodgy adverts.
And they've spent millions publishing adverts showing the public how to spot false stories.
But Facebook's top bosses have said it is not their responsibility to do so.
Samidh Chakrabarti said that the firm "don't want to be the arbiters of truth" even if their site lets fake stories get shared.
All the while under-pressure newspapers are fighting to stay in business - and 40 locals closed in 2017.