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Meta threatens to ban news on its platform in US over journalism bill

Introduced last year, the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), once passed, will allow news publishers to negotiate with Facebook and Google over the use of their content.

San Francisco: Meta on Tuesday warned to ban news in the US if the government passes a journalism bill that will require the social network to pay publishers for using their content.

Andy Stone, Meta’s head of policy communications, said on Twitter that if the Congress passes an “ill-considered journalism bill” as part of national security legislation, “we will be forced to consider removing news from our platform altogether rather than submit to the government-mandated negotiations that unfairly disregard any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic and subscriptions”.

Introduced last year, the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), once passed, will allow news publishers to negotiate with Facebook and Google over the use of their content.

The US Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act in September, but it still has to pass through the full Senate.

Stone said that the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act “fails to recognise the key fact: publishers and broadcasters put their content on our platform themselves because it benefits their bottom line – not the other way around”.

He stressed that no company should be forced to pay for content “users don’t want to see and that’s not a meaningful source of revenue”.

“Put simply: the government creating a cartel-like entity which requires one private company to subsidise other private entities is a terrible precedent for all American businesses,” Stone added.

Last year, Facebook pulled news from the platform in Australia over a similar legislation which forced it and Google to pay news publishers for content.

It later restored news content to its users in Australia.

Facebook also issued a similar threat in Canada over its Online News Act, which would also require the platform to pay publishers for sharing news.

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