Facebook parent Meta Platforms threatened Monday to remove news from its platform if Congress passed a proposal that would make it easier for news organisations to negotiate with companies such as Alphabet’s Google or Facebook.
Sources close to the matter indicated that lawmakers may add the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act as an annual defense bill to aid the struggling local news media.
Andy Stone, Meta spokesperson, tweeted that the company would consider taking down news if the law is passed. He said this “rather than agree to government-mandated negotiation which unfairly disregards any value we provide news outlets through increased traffic or subscriptions.”
He said that the proposal does not recognize the fact that broadcasters and publishers put content on the platform to benefit their bottom lines, and not the other.
The News Media Alliance is a trade association representing newspaper publishers. They are urging Congress to include the bill to the defense bill. We risk social media becoming America’s most trusted local newspaper if Congress doesn’t act quickly.
On Monday, more than twenty-six groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Public Knowledge, urged Congress to reject the local news bill. They said it would “create an ill advised antitrust exemption for broadcasters and publishers” and that the bill doesn’t require that “funds obtained through negotiation or arbitration be paid to journalists.”
Similar laws in Australia were implemented in March 2021 following talks with big tech companies. This resulted in a temporary shutdown of Facebook news feeds in Australia. A government report stated.
The report said that Meta and Alphabet, two of the largest tech companies, have made more than 30 deals to media outlets since the News Media Bargaining Act came into effect. These deals compensate them for clicks generated by advertising dollars.