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    Meta Threatens To Pull News From Facebook If US Congress Passes Media Bill

    Meta spokesperson Andy Stone said the company would be forced to consider removing news if the US Congress passed a Media bill.

    By Radha Basnet
    Tue, 06 Dec 2022 08:08 AM (IST)

    IN ORDER to encourage news organisations to negotiate collectively with businesses like Facebook, Alphabet and Google, Facebook's parent company Meta Platforms threatened to remove news from its platform if US Congress passes a proposal.

    According to sources, cited by Reuters, lawmakers are considering including the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act in a defence measure that must be passed each year in order to support the ailing local journalism sector.

    Meta spokesperson Andy Stone in a tweet said the company would be forced to consider removing news if the law was passed "rather than submit to government-mandated negotiations that unfairly disregard any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic and subscriptions.”

    According to Reuters, the News Media Alliance, a trade group representing newspaper publishers, is urging Congress to add the bill to the defense bill, arguing that "Local papers are running out of time to act before they are forced to bear several more years of Big Tech's misuse and exploitation. We run the risk of letting social media replace traditional local newspapers in America if Congress does not act quickly."

    Several organisations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Public Knowledge, and the Computer & Communications Industry Association, urged Congress not to pass the local news bill on Monday, claiming it would "create an ill-advised antitrust exemption for publishers and broadcasters" and argued the bill does not require "funds gained through negotiation or arbitration will even be paid to journalists."

    According to a government study, a similar Australian law, which took effect in March 2021 after talks with the big tech firms led to a brief shutdown of Facebook news feeds in the country, has largely worked. Many tech companies, including Meta and Alphabet, have made more than 30 agreements with media sites since the News Media Bargaining Code came into effect, paying them for material that brought in clicks and ad revenue, the report continued.

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