Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, says it will remove US news content from its platforms – and specifically Facebook – if a new law is passed.
The new legislation is known as the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) and was recently introduced in Congress by Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar
The law would give more power to publishers and broadcasters and would make it easier for them to collectively bargain with social media companies for a larger share of ad revenue.
The proposed legislation is part of a larger set of laws that are intended to deal with the dominance of Big Tech companies, which have become increasingly powerful.
Media companies argue that Meta generates huge profits from news articles on its platform, especially during the pandemic, which is a time when many smaller news companies struggled.
However, Meta objects to the new law, claiming that it actually provides more traffic to struggling news outlets. The company also argues that news publishers and other content creators benefit financially from putting their content on Facebook. Meta also argues that sharing news on Facebook only makes up a small fraction of its revenue.
Meta spokesperson Andy Stone said: “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 subscriptions.”
Last year, a similar law was passed in Australia which meant news on Facebook was suspended temporarily. The company quickly reversed the decision after facing criticism, and this resulted in a deal being made with the Australian government,
In a statement about Australia’s proposed law last year, a spokesperson for Meta said, “for Facebook, the business gain from the news is minimal. News makes up less than 4% of the content people see in their News Feed.”