Facebook has threatened to remove news content from its platform if Congress passes a bill that would make it easier for news organizations to collectively negotiate deals with tech giants.
US politicians are reportedly considering passing the Journalism Competition and Protection Act to help struggling local journalism.
The bill would make it easier for news companies to negotiate collectively with internet giants such as Meta, which owns Facebook, and Alphabet Inc over the terms on which news companies’ content is posted online.
Companies involved in news production believe Meta generates huge sums of money through advertising revenue from news articles shared on the platform.
But the Facebook owner Yuan Calling the new proposal “unfairly ignoring” any value Facebook provided by “increasing traffic and subscriptions.”
Meta spokesman Andy Stone said in a tweet that if the law is passed, the company will be forced to consider removing news.
He added that the proposal failed to recognize that publishers and broadcasters put content on platforms because “it benefits their bottom line – not the other way around”.
Last February, Australians are blocked News cannot be accessed and shared on Facebook following a dispute between Meta and the Australian government over payment for content.
Meta later backed down and agreed to a deal with Australian lawmakers to pay for content after criticism.
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The News Media Alliance, a U.S. trade group representing newspaper publishers, urged Congress to pass the News Competition and Protection Act, arguing that “local newspapers can no longer tolerate the use and abuse of big tech companies, and now is the time to act” on the reduction. If Congress doesn’t act soon, we risk making social media America’s de facto local newspaper.”
But groups including the ACLU, Public Knowledge and the Computer and Communications Industry Association urged Congress not to approve the local news bill, saying it would “create an ill-advised antitrust exemption for publishers and broadcasters.”