Facebook owner Meta threatened to remove news content from its platforms on Monday following reports that US lawmakers added controversial legislation favoring the media to the annual defense authorization bill.
The warning highlights the danger Meta perceives to its business model from 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 for news content. It is one of several technology-focused antitrust bills currently pending on Capitol Hill.
“If Congress passes a journalism bill ill-considered part of national security legislation,” Meta said in a statement tweeted Per spokesman Andy Stone, “We will be forced to consider removing news from our platform rather than undergo government-mandated negotiations that unfairly ignore any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic and subscriptions.” .
Meta has shown a willingness to follow through on his threat. When similar legislation came close to being passed in Australia last year, the company briefly suspended the ability for users to share and view links to news on its platforms. (It later changed course, and the legislation passed later that year.)
On Monday, Fight for the Future, a digital rights organization, told reporters that “multiple sources” had said the push to include the JCPA in the annual defense bill was successful and that the Defense Authorization Act National included the language of the JCPA. CNN has not independently confirmed the change to the defense bill.
A spokesman for Klobuchar did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The tech industry has strongly opposed the JCPA, but the bill has also drawn criticism from more than two dozen civil society groups that often disagree with Big Tech on policy issues.
In a letter sent Monday to congressional leaders, those groups said the JCPA could make misinformation and disinformation worse by allowing news websites to sue technology platforms for reducing the reach of a story and intimidating them into making news. do not moderate offensive or misleading content.
The letter also said that the JCPA could end up disproportionately favoring large media companies over small, local and independent outlets that have been hit hardest by falling digital ad revenue.
Among those who signed the letter were the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Wikimedia Foundation, and Public Knowledge.
Digital Content Next, a trade association representing digital media companies, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.