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: Facebook threatens to ban news from platform if U.S. bill passes

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Facebook parent company Meta Platforms Inc. is threatening to remove news from its platform if a U.S. bill becomes law.

“If Congress passes an ill-considered journalism bill as part of national security legislation, 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
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spokesman Andy Stone said in a blunt statement issued via Twitter.

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act was authored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota who is a fierce critic of Big Tech and an advocate for antitrust legislation. The bill would level the playing field, according to its advocates, by allowing newspapers and other news organizations to band together to negotiate for a larger share of online advertising revenue.

Currently, news organization must negotiate individually. Collectively, they could force Meta and Alphabet Inc.’s
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GOOG,
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Google — the two leading digital-ad businesses — to share the wealth, the bill’s proponents argue. Newspaper publishers in the U.S. estimate ad sales fell by 52% between 2002 and 2020, according to census data.

Meta, however, contends the U.S. bill would let the government create a “cartel-like entity which requires one private company to subsidize other private entities,” calling it “a terrible precedent for all American businesses.”

Meanwhile, New Zealand is proposing legislation that would require large tech companies like Meta and Google to compensate local media companies for content they use and share on their platforms.

Also read: New Zealand plans law to force Google, Meta to pay news publishers for content

Willie Jackson, New Zealand’s minister of broadcasting, announced Sunday that legislation is being drawn up that will be based on a similar law in Australia, as well as pending legislation in Canada and measures in the U.K. and the EU.

Mia Garlick, Meta’s regional policy director, said in an emailed statement on Sunday that New Zealand’s proposed legislation “fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between Facebook and news” and that it “won’t solve the longstanding digital transformation challenges facing the news industry.”

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