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Meta threatens to remove news content over US journalism bargaining bill

Meta threatens to remove news content over US journalism bargaining bill

Facebook owner Meta threatened to remove news content from its platforms on Monday following reports that US lawmakers have added controversial legislation favoring news media to the annual defense authorization bill.

The warning highlights the danger that Meta perceives to its business model in the face of the proposed bill, known as the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA).

The legislation introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar and backed by more than a dozen other lawmakers from both parties would create a four-year exemption under US antitrust law allowing news outlets to bargain collectively against social media platforms for a larger share of ad revenue in exchange for their news content. It is one of several tech-focused antitrust bills currently pending on Capitol Hill.

“If Congress passes an ill-considered journalism bill as part of national security legislation,” Meta said in a statement tweeted by spokesman Andy Stone, “we will be forced to consider removing news from our platform altogether rather than submit to government-mandated negotiations that unfairly disregard any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic and subscriptions.”

Meta has shown willingness to follow through on its threat. When similar legislation was on the verge of passing in Australia last year, the company briefly suspended users’ ability to share and view links to news stories on its platforms. (It later changed course and the legislation passed later that year.)

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