On Monday, Facebook owner Meta Platforms stated that if the US Congress passes the Competition and Press Preservation Act, it will get rid of news from its platform. According to Meta Platforms, broadcasters profited from posting their content on its site.
The law makes it easier for news organizations to negotiate with internet giants like Meta and Alphabet, owner of Google, about the terms on which their content can be published online.
According to sources close to the situation, lawmakers are thinking about passing a competition and press law as part of an annual defense bill. This would give a much-needed boost to the struggling local news industry.
In a tweet, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone said that if the law passes, the company would have to contemplate taking down news instead of obeying government-mandated negotiations that completely nullify any value we provide to news organizations through increased traffic and subscriptions.
He criticized the law, stating that it doesn’t acknowledge that publishers and broadcasters post on the platform for their own financial gain and not because it benefits posts.
If Congress does not act soon, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter will become the sole news source for Americans. The News Media Alliance, a trade group representing newspaper publishers, warns that “local newspapers cannot afford to be exploited by Big Tech for several more years.” Time is of the essence- if we do not intervene now, Who knows what sort of effect this will have on our democracy?
In a letter to Congress, more than 20 groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Computer and Telecommunications Industry Association, warned that passing the bill would exempt broadcasters from antitrust laws. Not only this, but it also wouldn’t require them to pay journalists money already earned through negotiation or arbitration.
A government report revealed that a law similar to the one Australia recently passed has been largely successful. After entering into force in March 2021 following talks with major technology companies, the law briefly led to Facebook news broadcasts being halted in Australia.
The report states that, since the law was put into effect, many technology companies – like Meta and Alphabet – have come to more than 30 agreements with different media outlets. With these deals, the tech companies pay the outlet for any content used that could make them money.