Facebook threatens to pull out news content if made to pay for it

Facebook threatens to pull out news content if made to pay for it
If the Congress passes a bill that would permit news organizations to negotiate with tech companies for compensation, Facebook may soon remove news from the platform in the US. On Monday, Meta's head of policy communications, Andy Stone, tweeted the thread, saying that "if 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."

The idea, presented in March 2021, is allegedly being evaluated for inclusion in a must-pass yearly defense bill by lawmakers. The proposed regulation comes on the heels of a scandal in Australia in 2021, when Facebook temporarily removed news from its platform after the country implemented legislation mandating digital companies pay for news content.

There are basically two camps in this: the News Media Alliance, a trade group representing newspaper publishers that supports the bill; and Meta, plus more than 20 organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, and the Computer & Communications Industry Association, that think the bill is problematic and would create a bad precedent for publishers and broadcasters.

The first party thinks that Meta's threats are "undemocratic and unbecoming," also adding that compensation from IT companies would show that news around the world still has value. That's a fair point, but at the same time, newspapers have been in steady decline in recent years, and some view this bill as a way to get the industry back on its feet.

Meta and its supporters think that news outlets and broadcasters put their content on Facebook because they benefit from the additional exposure and reach. It's a valid point as well. What do you think about it? Should IT companies be made to pay for news content?

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