Meta, the parent company of Facebook, threatened to remove news content from its platforms on Monday.
The threat came after reports emerged that US lawmakers are adding a controversial pro-media legislation to the annual Defense Licensing Act.
Meta’s warning highlights the danger the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) poses to its business model.
Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced the legislation with support from more than a dozen lawmakers from the two political parties.
It would create a four-year exemption under US antitrust laws and allow news organizations to jointly negotiate with social media platforms for a greater share of ad revenue in exchange for news content.
Additionally, the legislation is one of many tech-focused antitrust laws waiting on Capitol Hill.
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Meta spokesman Andy Stone wrote a statement saying:
“If Congress passes an ill-considered journalism bill as part of national security legislation,” he started.
“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.”
Meta has already demonstrated that it intends to follow through with its threats.
A similar legislation was proposed and passed in Australia last year.
As a result, Meta has temporarily removed the ability for users to view and share post links on its platforms.
However, the social media giant changed course when Australia passed the law.
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The tech industry
Digital rights organization Fight for the Future has addressed the reports, saying multiple sources said efforts to include the JCPA in the annual defense bill were successful.
Additionally, the National Defense Authorization Act is included in the language of the JCPA.
Meanwhile, the tech industry is fiercely opposing the JCPA.
Furthermore, the bill has been criticized by more than two dozen civil society groups, often clashing with Big Tech on policy issues.
The groups wrote a letter to congressional leaders on Monday saying the JCPA could exacerbate disinformation and disinformation.
The law could allow news sites to sue tech platforms for restricting the publication of a story and intimidate them into moderating offensive or misleading content.
Additionally, the letter says the JCPA may favor large media companies over smaller, local and independent outlets, which have been hurt by falling digital advertising revenue.
The groups that signed the letter include:
- The American Civil Liberties Union
- The Electronic Frontier Foundation
- The Wikimedia Foundation
- Public Knowledge
Meta threatens to remove news content over US journalism bargaining bill