Meta has threatened to remove news content from its platforms in the United States if Congress passes the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), which will allow for media outlets to collectively bargain against social media platforms for more ad revenue in exchange for news content they provide. Supporters of the bill argue that large sums of Meta’s revenue come from news content, for which news providers should be compensated. Meta, on the other hand, says that revenue from news is not great enough to warrant compensation, and media outlets posting on their platforms are rewarded in increased traffic to their own websites.
In a statement, Meta argued that the bill fails to recognize that “publishers and broadcasters put their content on our platform themselves because it benefits their bottom line – not the other way around.”
Meta statement on the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act: pic.twitter.com/kyFqKQw7xs
— Andy Stone (@andymstone) December 5, 2022
Meta added that “No company should be forced to pay for content 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.”
In 2021, Australia pushed for a similar measure, but Meta responded by temporarily pulling news content on Facebook for Australian users in retaliation. In the end, Facebook agreed to compensate local media outlets for their content that was posted on the platform.
A letter signed by 26 organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Patreon, and the Niskanen Center to name a few, called for lawmakers to oppose the bill saying that the JCPA “would permit a digital journalism provider to bring a legal action against a covered platform to hold it liable for limiting the reach of content the platform owner finds offensive or contrary to its terms of service or community standards… and will increase the amount of networked disinformation, hate speech, and harassment found there.”
Likewise, the letter said that the bill will only favor larger media outlets, does not guarantee individual journalists to be paid, and will “stimulate consolidation in the industry and create new barriers to entry for new and innovative models of truly independent, local journalism.”