Facebook Threatens To Block All News

(HorizonPost.com) – Last Thursday, the California State Assembly overwhelmingly passed the California Journalism Preservation bill, ignoring the threats from Meta to stop providing news on Instagram and Facebook if the bill passed, the Washington Post reported.

On Wednesday, Meta spokesman Andy Stone released a statement warning that if state legislators pass the bill, the company “will be forced to remove news” from both Instagram and Facebook to avoid paying into a “slush fund” Meta claimed would only benefit “big, out-of-state media companies.”

Under the Journalism Prevention Act social media companies would be charged a “journalism usage fee” which would be used to provide support to journalists.

The bill, which passed through committee in April, easily passed the full Assembly in a bipartisan vote of 55 to 6. The legislation will now move to the state Senate.

Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks (D), the lead sponsor of the bill, said the overwhelming support for the measure in the lower chamber is proof that lawmakers were undeterred by Meta’s threats.

The legislation, which mirrors similar laws in Canada and Australia, is aimed at ensuring that social media companies share the revenue they gain from featuring news on their platforms with the outlets that provide that news.

When Australia first enacted a similar law, Facebook issued the same threats. However, the tech company reversed its decision after it struck a deal with the Australian government to give tech companies more time to negotiate deals with news outlets to avoid forced arbitration.

Similarly, Meta made the same threat when Canada introduced similar legislation last month.

Last year, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act that would have allowed news publishers to collectively bargain with tech companies to receive a larger share of ad revenue from their platforms.

However, Meta threatened to remove all news from its platforms if the measure passed.

In this instance, Meta’s threats were successful, and Klobuchar’s bill was pulled from the omnibus spending bill passed by Congress in December.

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