Meta threatens to yank news content from California over payments bill

Facebook parent Meta said it would remove news content in California if the state government passed legislation forcing tech companies to pay publishers

June 01, 2023 10:36 am | Updated 11:42 am IST - NEW YORK

Meta said it would remove news content in California if the state government passed legislation forcing tech companies to pay publishers.

Meta said it would remove news content in California if the state government passed legislation forcing tech companies to pay publishers. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Facebook parent Meta Platforms said on Wednesday it would remove news content in its home state of California if the state government passed legislation forcing tech companies to pay publishers.

The proposed California Journalism Preservation Act would require "online platforms" to pay a "journalism usage fee" to news providers whose work appears on their services, aimed at reversing a decline in the local news sector.

In a tweeted statement, Meta spokesman Andy Stone called the payment structure a "slush fund" and said the bill would primarily benefit "big, out-of-state media companies under the guise of aiding California publishers."

The statement was Meta's first on the California bill specifically, although the company has been waging similar battles over compensation for news publishers at the federal level and in countries outside the United States.

(For top technology news of the day, subscribe to our tech newsletter Today’s Cache)

In December, Stone said Meta would remove news from its platform altogether if the U.S. Congress passed a bill that closely resembles the proposed California legislation.

The company is likewise threatening to withdraw news in Canada in response to proposed legislation there, along with Alphabet's Google, which has said it would remove links to news articles from Canadian search results.

The proposals are similar to a ground-breaking law that Australia passed in 2021, which also triggered threats from Facebook and Google to curtail their services.

Both companies eventually struck deals with Australian media companies after amendments to the legislation were offered, although the standoff prompted a brief shutdown of Facebook news feeds in Australia in the process.

An Australian government report released in December concluded that the law had largely worked.

Google did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment about the California bill.

Top News Today

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.