Facebook has threatened to remove news content from its platform if Congress passes a bill that would make it easier for news outlets to negotiate collective agreements with tech giants.
US politicians are reportedly considering passing the Journalism Preservation and Competition Act as a way to help the struggling local news industry.
The bill would make it easier for news companies to negotiate collectively with internet giants such as Facebook-owner Meta and Alphabet Inc over terms for the distribution of news companies’ content online.
Companies involved in news production claim that Meta generates huge sums of money from advertising revenue from news articles shared on the platform.
But the owner of Facebook Meta says the new proposals “unfairly ignore any value” provided by Facebook through “increased traffic and subscriptions.”
Meta spokesman Andy Stone said in a tweet that the company would be forced to consider deleting the information if the law passes.
He added that the proposal fails to recognize that publishers and broadcasters put content on the platform because “it benefits their bottom line – not the other way around”.
In February last year, Australians were blocked to access and share news on Facebook following a row between Meta and the Australian government over payments for content.
Meta then backed down and struck a deal with Australian lawmakers to pay for the content following criticism.
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The News Media Alliance, a US trade group representing newspaper publishers, is urging Congress to pass the Journalism Competition and Preservation Ac, arguing that “local newspapers cannot afford to endure another several years of use and abuse. of Big Tech, and it’s time to act”. If Congress doesn’t act quickly, we risk allowing social media to become America’s de facto local newspaper.”
But groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, Public Knowledge and the Computer & Communications Industry Association urged Congress not to approve the local news bill, saying it would “create a misguided antitrust exemption for publishers and broadcasters”.