Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Meta Platforms Inc., left, arrives in federal court in San Jose, California, U.S., Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
On Thursday, California lawmakers advanced a bipartisan bill that would require Big Tech platforms to pay publishers for the news they post every other day Meta threatened to remove news from Facebook and Instagram if the bill is passed.
The California Journalism Preservation Act, which passed the state Assembly 46-6, still needs to be approved by the state Senate and signed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom to become law. But if it goes that far, it could create new challenges for tech platforms and potentially change the landscape of information available on social media sites in California compared to the rest of the country.
“If the Preservation of Journalism Act is passed, we will be forced to remove news from Facebook and Instagram rather than pay to shady foundations that mostly benefit major media companies overseas under the guise of helping California publishers,” said a Meta spokesperson. Andy Stone said in a statement on Twitter Wednesday. “The bill fails to recognize that publishers and broadcasters post their own content on our platform and that significant consolidation of the local news industry in California occurred more than 15 years ago, long before the widespread use of Facebook.”
California law requires online platforms with at least 50 million monthly active users in the U.S., one billion active users worldwide, or net annual sales or U.S. market capitalization, according to the bill’s text, available on the state government’s website. exceeded 550 billion dollars. pay a “per-use fee” to relevant digital journalism providers who wish to do so. Payouts will be calculated based on the number of news products of each outlet displayed on or linked to the platform. The parties will use an arbitration process to determine the percentage of platform advertising revenue that will constitute the usage fee.
The Chamber of Progress trade group, which counts Meta as one of its supporters, criticized the bill’s advancement. Coalition CEO Adam Kavacevic said in a statement that the “CPJA is riddled with holes” and that the bill “includes a dubious arbitration process and supports hedge funds known for cutting news staff rather than hiring journalists.
“It’s a pity that the Assembly shifts the responsibility to the Senate instead of solving the problems of the bill,” he added.
The News/Media Alliance, which represents more than 2,000 media organizations, applauded the Assembly vote.
“We are thrilled to see this progress at the state level, which shows that Americans understand the importance and value of journalism to keep their communities safe and informed, and to hold those in power accountable,” News/Media Alliance President and CEO Daniel Coffey said in a statement. “We look forward to CJPA moving to the Senate and working with policymakers to pass CJPA and restore fairness and balance to the marketplace.”
The California bill has similar goals to federal legislation that a bipartisan group of lawmakers tried to push through last year. Tech companies also opposed the bill, the Competition and Protection of Journalists Act, which would create a temporary antitrust safe harbor for news publishers to negotiate revenue-sharing terms with the tech giants that sell their products.
The current conflict between Metta and California lawmakers is reminiscent of a similar fight in Australia in 2021, when the government there sought to require online platforms to pay for news content. Days after restricting news pages in the country, Facebook reached an agreement with the government that led to the company’s policy being reversed. Facebook said at the time that the government “agreed to a series of changes and safeguards that address our core concerns about enabling commercial transactions that recognize the value our platform provides to publishers versus the value we receive from them.”
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