Meta Warns Of News Removal In California If Tech Companies Are Forced To Pay Publishers
Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) warns of news removal in its home state if legislation mandates payments to publishers.
Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, announced on Wednesday its intention to remove news content in California if the state government passes a bill requiring tech companies to compensate publishers. In a statement on Twitter, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone criticised the proposed payment structure, labelling it a "slush fund." Stone further argued that the bill would primarily benefit "big, out-of-state media companies" while claiming to support California publishers.
While this is Meta's first direct response to the California bill, the company has previously engaged in similar battles over compensating news publishers at the national level and in other countries. In December, Stone stated that Meta would eliminate news content from its platform entirely if the U.S. Congress passed legislation closely resembling the proposed California bill. Additionally, Meta and Alphabet's Google have threatened to remove news links from Canadian search results in response to proposed legislation in Canada.
These proposals bear resemblance to Australia's groundbreaking law enacted in 2021, which prompted similar reactions from Facebook and Google. Ultimately, both companies reached agreements with Australian media organisations after amendments were made to the legislation. However, during the standoff, Facebook temporarily halted news feeds in Australia.
A government report released in December indicated that Australia's law had been largely effective in achieving its goals. It remains to be seen how Google will respond to the California bill as the company has not yet commented on the matter in response to a Reuters request.
The proposed California Journalism Preservation Act aims to counter the decline of the local news sector by obligating online platforms to pay a "journalism usage fee" to news providers whose content appears on their services.
Meta Platforms threatens to remove news content in California if legislation mandates payments to publishers.
Meta previously expressed a similar stance regarding national and international compensation for news publishers.
Facebook and Google also threatened to curtail services in Australia but later reached agreements.
Google has not yet responded to the California bill.
The proposed California Journalism Preservation Act aims to reverse the decline of local news by requiring online platforms to pay a "journalism usage fee" to news providers.