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Facebook’s parent, Meta, threatens to remove news if US passes media bill

Meta Platforms Inc, the parent company of Facebook, has threatened to remove news off its platform if the US Congress approves a measure intended to make it easier for news organizations to deal collectively with companies such as Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook.

Lawmakers may include the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act to a must-pass yearly defense bill to bolster the beleaguered local journalism sector, according to reports.

Meta spokesman Andy Stone tweeted that if the bill passes, the firm would have to consider removing news “rather than submit to government-mandated negotiations that unfairly disregard any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic and subscriptions.”

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The idea ignores that publishers and broadcasters post material on the platform as per him, because “it benefits their bottom line — not the other way around.”

The News Media Alliance, a trade group for newspaper publishers, is pressing Congress to add the measure to the defense bill claiming “local papers cannot afford to endure several more years of Big Tech’s use and abuse, and time to take action is dwindling.” Social media might replace America’s local newspaper if Congress doesn’t act quickly.

The American Civil Liberties Union, Public Knowledge, and the Computer & Communications Industry Association urged Congress not to approve the local news bill on Monday, saying it would “create an ill-advised antitrust exemption for publishers and broadcasters” and does not require “funds gained through negotiation or arbitration will even be paid to journalists.”

A government assessment claimed a comparable Australian rule, which took effect in March 2021 after discussions with the major digital corporations led to a short Facebook news feed blackout in the nation, had mostly functioned.

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The article said that Meta and Alphabet had negotiated more than 30 arrangements with media publications to pay them for clicks and advertising since the News Media Bargaining Code went into force.

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