Meta is considering removing news content from popular social media platforms Facebook and Instagram if a bill requiring companies to pay publishers for their content is passed in California.
In a tweet, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone said that if the Journalism Preservation Act gets passed, the company will be forced to remove news from Facebook and Instagram instead of paying into a “slush fund” that benefits out-of-state media companies.
Stone also argued that the bill fails to acknowledge that publishers and broadcasters share their content on those platforms.
Meta statement on the California Journalism Preservation Act. pic.twitter.com/ssgk1vSryB— Andy Stone (@andymstone) May 31, 2023
The Journalism Preservation Act was introduced by Assembly member Buffy Wicks last March in support of the news industry, noting that digital marketing companies benefit from news content without providing proper compensation for its creators.
The bill was made to get companies to pay fair market value by introducing a “journalism usage fee” that requires companies to pay whenever their ads are displayed together with other companies’ news posts. Additionally, these companies would have to allocate 70% of their revenue towards newsroom payroll.
In response to the tech giant’s threat, Wicks pointed out that the company had previously committed scare tactics when similar bills were proposed.
This threat from Meta is a scare tactic that they’ve tried to deploy, unsuccessfully, in every country that’s attempted this. It is egregious that one of the wealthiest companies in the world would rather silence journalists than face regulation. @mattdpearce lays it out below.👇🏻 https://t.co/oW07CQllpC— Buffy Wicks (@BuffyWicks) May 31, 2023
In 2021, Meta also threatened to pull news content from its platforms when similar legislation was proposed in Australia. The passing of the bill is believed to have brought roughly $150 million annually to media companies.