Facebook warns of blocking news in the US over proposed journalism bill

    Meta warns it could ban news on Facebook in the US if Congress passes the journalism bill that will make it compulsory for social media platforms to compensate news publishers for their content. The bill- Journalism Competition and Preservation Act would allow content creators including news publishers to bargain with social media giants like Facebook and Google about how their work is distributed. Meta’s head of policy communications, Andy Stone took to Twitter and said that Facebook would “be forced to consider removing news” from Facebook if the JCPA is passed. Earlier, Facebook threatened to block news in Canada and Australia when similar laws were proposed.

    In the statement, Stone writes, “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 subscription.” He added, “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.”

    The JCPA was introduced with bipartisan backing in the US in 2021.  The JCPA is yet to go through the full Senate. It is aimed to provide news publishers with influence over Big Tech. Meanwhile, Facebook has vehemently resisted this move by governments in other nations. Meta says that Facebook will not be willing to submit to government-mandated negotiations that “unfairly disregard any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic and subscriptions.”

    Last February, the social media platform banned news in Australia when a similar law was passed. However, news later made it to the platform when Australia amended the bill. In a similar move, Facebook issued a similar warning in Canada due to its ‘Online News Act’ which would also require the tech giant to pay for news content.

    A total of 26 organizations including Facebook wrote a letter to lawmakers to advocate against the journalism bill. Meanwhile, a wide alliance of publishing organizations in the US has supported the bill. Recently, the Indian government is planning to pass a law to make tech giants like Google and Facebook share a part of their ad revenue with local Indian publishers as well as digital publishers for using their original content.

    Earlier, the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) and Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) accused Google of having a very opaque advertising system, as they were unable to get details of Google’s advertising value chain. DNPA claims that more than 50 per cent of the traffic on news websites is routed through Google.





    author avatar
    Anubha Pandey




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