Facebook threatens to block news sites in the US if it has to pay for their content

Facebook is playing the same card again in the US, threatening to block news sites if the US Congress passes a law allowing publications to negotiate remuneration for their content on social media. The bill is called the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act and would allow journalists to negotiate fair deals with Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, which although display news content among ads, do not pay for it.

Facebook says the law would set a “chilling” precedent

“If Congress passes a poorly researched bill as part of national security legislation, we will be forced to consider removing news from our platform completely, rather than submit to forced government negotiations that don’t take into account the value we provide to news publications through increased traffic and subscriptions. The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act fails to recognize the key fact: online publications and broadcasters willingly put their content on our platform because it benefits them financially, not the other way around. No company should be forced to pay for content that users don’t want to see, and that’s not an important source of revenue. Simply put, the government creating a cartel-like entity that forces one private company to subsidize other private entities sets a chilling precedent for all American business.”, posted Andy Stone, represented Meta on his Twitter account.

The social network Facebook demonstrated that it is willing to carry out its threats when it effectively blocked all news publications in Australia when a similar law was passed. Eventually, Meta returned to the negotiating table two months later and partnered with news publications for a fee, but from a more favourable position. Most likely, the company will adopt the same tactic in the US.

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