Meta has threatened to pull all news from Facebook in the US if an 'ill-considered' bill that would compel it to pay publishers passes




Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.Photo by Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty
Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.Photo by Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty  
  • Meta threatened to pull news from its US platform over a media bill, in a statement on Monday.

  • The media bill will require Facebook and other platforms to pay publishers to distribute news.

  • Meta previously cut all access to news in Australia after a similar bill was passed in the country.

Facebook owner Meta issued a public warning on Monday that it could remove all news from its US platform if Congress passes its upcoming media competition bill, which will force Meta and other platforms to compensate publishers and broadcasters.

Andy Stone, Meta's policy communications director, posted Meta's statement to Twitter regarding its position on the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA.) The statement read that if Congress passes the "ill-considered journalism bill," Meta "will be forced to consider removing news from our platform altogether."

The JCPA was introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar with bipartisan support and enables publishers to negotiate with social media platforms like Facebook and Google over how their content is distributed on such platforms. This includes requiring social media firms to pay for news content.

"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 round," Meta said in the statement.

"No company should be forced to pay for content other users don't want to see and that's not a meaningful source of revenue."

The JCPA was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2022, but it is yet to pass through the full senate.

Meta has had a long-running battle with similar policies before. In 2021, the social media giant temporarily banned Australian users from viewing, sharing, or interacting with news content on its platform after Australia proposed a similar bill forcing companies like Meta to pay media companies for their news content.

The ban even prevented users worldwide from seeing news distributed by Australian media companies. It blocked pages for fire departments, emergency services, food banks, and other critical organizations in Australia.

Meta eventually reversed the ban after the bill was amended, and struck a deal with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp to pay the media firm to distribute its content across Facebook.

Meta issued a similar threat to Canada in October if the country passed its Online News Act which would also require the platform to pay for news.

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