Meta News May Stop If California Journalism Preservation Act Passes
Social media company Meta threatened to pull news from Instagram and Facebook if California’s Journalism Preservation Act passes. The statement comes from a tweet from Andy Stone, Policy Communications Director of Meta. The company said the bill would support out-of-state sites “under the guise” of helping news publishers in California.
Journalism has struggled to survive as people rely on social media for news instead of online publications. Consequently, many experts have weighed in on Meta’s protest against the proposed Journalism Preservation Act. Reading their insights will show you how online news has been evolving.
This article will discuss why Meta news posts may cease following the Golden State’s Journalism Preservation Act. Then, I will discuss the current state of journalism and the pros and cons of this proposed law from various experts.
How would the Journalism Preservation Act affect Meta news posts?
The Journalism Preservation Act will require tech companies to pay news publishers for news content. Specifically, they must pay a “journalism usage fee” for content from local outlets.
Publishers must allocate 70% of the funds to create and maintain journalism jobs in California. However, Meta does not believe that the law would benefit news outlets. Here is the full statement from Meta Policy Communications Director Andy Stone:
“If the Journalism Preservation Act passes, we will be forced to remove news from Facebook and Instagram rather than pay into a slush fund that primarily benefits big, out-of-state media companies under the guise of aiding California publishers.”
“The bill fails to recognize that publishers and broadcasters put their content on our platform themselves and that substantial consolidation in California’s local news industry came over 15 years ago, well before Facebook was widely used.”
“It is disappointing that California lawmakers appear to be prioritizing the best interests of national and international media companies over their own constituents.” Later, someone asked Stone how the act would force the company to stop distributing news articles.
Stone replied, “It’s payor remove the news. Our hand is being forced.” In response, Danielle Coffey, executive vice president of the News Media Alliance trade group, criticized Meta.
She said the struggling news industry would benefit from having tech companies pay their fair share. “Meta’s threat to take down news is undemocratic and unbecoming. We have seen [this] in their playbook before,” Coffey stated.
She is right because Meta temporarily blocked news articles in Australia over a similar law. Later, tech companies and the Australian government struck a compromise when Google threatened to pull its search engine.
How could the bill inadvertently harm news outlets instead of helping them?
The Pew Research Center discovered 26% of US newsroom jobs dropped between 2008 and 2020. Meanwhile, Meta and Google services dominated 70% of digital advertising revenue in 2023.
News outlets have been struggling because advertisers prefer social media over their organizations. However, the Journalism Preservation Act may have unintended consequences.
Media analyst and publisher Ken Doctor said malicious individuals and groups might game the system using that law. They may peddle misinformation while receiving funds.
You may also like: Stay Connected With Samsung Smart Lock
The bill might significantly funnel money from ailing outlets to clickbait articles. Also, it may channel money to hedge-fund owners that receive a portion of newsroom profits.
Doctor told the Los Angeles Times, “I applaud [that] the legislators’ want to help the local news business. But I think what they really need is a much deeper and wider understanding of the mechanics and nuances of how that business works.”
“Such deals will not ‘save the news’ industry, but they could contribute a new, reliable stream to support news. I hope social platform companies can see it in their interest to support the underlying democratic societies that, after all, are the bedrock of their commercial markets.”
Meta said it would pull news from Facebook and Instagram if the California Journalism Preservation Act passes. The bill will receive a vote on the California assembly floor on Thursday.
Later, people expect it to pass and move to the state Senate. We have no further updates regarding the Journalism Preservation Act at the time of writing.
You can get its latest developments by following Inquirer Tech. It is also a great source of tips and trends regarding artificial intelligence, social media, gadgets, and more.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.