On Monday, Facebook’s parent company, Meta, warned that it may have to shut down news content on its social media platform if the Democrat-controlled Congress succeeds in passing the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, a controversial bill which makes it easier for news organizations to collectively negotiate with companies like Google and Meta.
“If Congress passes an ill-considered journalism bill as part of national security legislation, we will be forced to consider removing news from our platform altogether rather than submit to government-mandated negotiations that unfairly disregard any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic and subscriptions,” Meta said in a statement. “The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act fails to recognize the key fact: publishers and broadcasters put their content on our platform themselves because it benefits their bottom line – not the other way around.”
“No company should be forced to pay for content users don’t want to see and that’s not a meaningful source of revenue,” the statement continued. “Put simply: the government creating a cartel-like entity which requires one private company to subsidize other private entities is a terrible precedent for all American businesses.”
Meta statement on the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act: pic.twitter.com/kyFqKQw7xs
— Andy Stone (@andymstone) December 5, 2022
As noted by Reuters, Australia passed a similar law in 2021, which resulted in Facebook temporarily shutting down its news content.
Reuters added, “More than two dozen groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, Public Knowledge and the Computer & Communications Industry Association on Monday urged Congress not to approve the local news bill saying it would ‘create an ill-advised antitrust exemption for publishers and broadcasters’ and argued the bill does not require ‘funds gained through negotiation or arbitration will even be paid to journalists.’”
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