California’s Journalism Preservation Act might force Meta to ban news

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The US state of California is considering a new Journalism Preservation Act, the most relevant aspect of which would force Meta to pay for news content that users are sharing on the Facebook and Instagram platforms. As such, Meta has threatened to ban news content in the state.

The Journalism Preservation Act intends to allow publishers, particularly small publishers, a means of making money on Meta’s social media platforms. Californian lawmakers argue that Facebook in particular benefits from news content for greater engagement, and therefore gains revenue. Ultimately saying that Meta, therefore, needs to pay for that privilege.

However, Meta disagrees, pointing out that very little revenue is gained from publishers when compared to what publishers get from Facebook.

Meta’s Andy Stone said of the Journalism Preservation Act on Twitter: “If the [act] passes, we will be forced to remove news from Facebook and Instagram rather than pay into a slush fund that primarily benefits big, out-of-state media companies under the guise of aiding California publishers.

“The bill fails to recognize that publishers and broadcasters put their content on our platform themselves and that substantial consolidation in California’s local news industry came over 15 years ago, well before Facebook was widely used. It is disappointing to see that California lawmakers appear to be prioritising the best interests of the nation and international media companies over their own constituents.”

Meta has already gone through similar bans with the Australian News Bargaining Code 2021, and the Canadian Online News Act.

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