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Meta to remove Facebook news amid proposed media bill

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:


  • Meta would rather remove news from Facebook instead of submitting to “government-mandated negotiations,” a company spokesperson said.
  • Local papers have urged Congress to pass a bill that facilitates deals between news organizations and Big Tech firms.
  • Other groups called out the bill as an “antitrust exemption for publishers and broadcasters” that does not ensure journalists will benefit.

Congress has proposed a bill that aims to facilitate collective negotiation between news organizations with companies like Alphabet Inc’s Google and Meta Platforms Inc’s Facebook. But Meta warned on Monday that it will remove news from Facebook if Congress passes the proposed bill.

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, aimed to help the struggling local news industry, could be attached to a must-pass annual defense bill.

Andy Stone, a spokesperson for Meta, wrote on Twitter that Meta would rather remove news from its platform “rather than submit to government-mandated negotiations that unfairly disregard any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic and subscriptions.”

Stone pointed out that the proposed bill doesn’t take into account that broadcasters and publishers put content on the platform because “it benefits their bottom line – not the other way around.”

The News Media Alliance argued, “Local papers cannot afford to endure several more years of Big Tech’s use and abuse, and time to take action is dwindling. If Congress does not act soon, we risk allowing social media to become America’s de facto local newspaper.”

Meanwhile, over two dozen groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, urged Congress against approving the local news bill.

They argued that it creates “an ill-advised antitrust exemption for publishers and broadcasters” that does not ensure that journalists will benefit from “funds gained through negotiation or arbitration.”

In March 2021, a similar law called the News Media Bargaining Code took effect in Australia. This led to a temporary shutdown of Facebook news feeds in the country.

A government report stated that the law has largely worked. Big Tech firms such as Meta and Alphabet signed over 30 deals with media outlets, which were compensated for content that generated clicks and advertising income.

Source: Yahoo! Finance

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