Tech behemoth Meta has threatened to remove all news from its platforms if Congress passes legislation it does not like.
The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which was introduced by Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, would require tech companies to pay outlets whose news is posted on their platforms. If no agreement is reached, third-party arbitration takes place, according to Axios.
“To preserve strong, independent journalism, we have to make sure news organizations are able to negotiate on a level playing field with the online platforms that have come to dominate news distribution and digital advertising,” Klobuchar said in a statement issued in September, according to Gizmodo.
The bill specifies “media outlets will be able to band together and negotiate for fair compensation from the Big Tech companies that profit from their news content, allowing journalists to continue their critical work of keeping communities informed,” she said.
“Google and Facebook are worth over $1 trillion combined … Literally the revenue has changed hands. Yes, everyone’s online, but the content providers, the reporters, should be compensated for the work that they do and it shouldn’t be given away to these mega companies that are dominant platforms,” she said.
That led to a not-so-veiled threat from Meta’s Andy Stone, who posted the company’s position on Twitter.
Meta statement on the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act: pic.twitter.com/kyFqKQw7xs
— Andy Stone (@andymstone) December 5, 2022
“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,” he wrote.
“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 statement said.
“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. Put simply: the government creating a cartel-like entity which requires one private company to subsidize other private entities is a terrible precedent for all American businesses,” the statement said.
The News/Media Alliance fired back at Meta in a statement.
“Facebook’s threat to take down news is undemocratic and unbecoming. As the tech platforms compensate news publishers around the world, it demonstrates there is a demand and economic value for news,” the statement said.
Others have also opposed the bill.
Why are some Republicans working with Dems to destroy alternative media? This law gives Big Tech & the Corporate Media MORE censorship power. Strip it out of the NDAA!
Group of 10 GOP Patriots Push Back on McConnell, Democrat Push to Include JCPA in NDAAhttps://t.co/Qgcq9imNMk
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) December 6, 2022
SOURCES: McConnell Caves to Pelosi, Schumer, Allows JCPA Media Cartel Bailout Bill to Be Included in Defense Package — Would force Big Tech companies to subsidize Big Media companies. @ElonMusk would have to fork over cash to the @NYTIMEs, etc. https://t.co/UN6Mdx1rPf
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) December 5, 2022
According to Insider, Meta enacted a similar ban in Australia in 2021 when similar legislation was considered there.
Meta relented after the Australian law was amended, and agreed to a deal to pay Rupert Murdoch’s media firm to distribute its content across Facebook.
Meta is also threatening Canada with the same penalty in response to the proposed Online News Act, which would also require outlets that post news on Facebook to be paid.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.