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Meta Threatens to Pull News From Facebook if Congress Passes Media Bill

The bill would allow news organizations to collectively bargain with tech companies for compensation.

Facebook logo on phone
Sarah Tew/CNET

Facebook parent company Meta on Monday threatened to remove news from its social media platform in the US if Congress approves a bill that would allow news organizations to collectively bargain with tech companies for compensation.

Andy Stone, Meta's head of policy communications, wrote on Twitter that Facebook would "be forced to consider removing news" if the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act becomes law. He added that the proposal fails to recognize that publishers and broadcasters put their content on Facebook "because it benefits their bottom line -- not the other way around."

The bill, which was proposed in March 2021, is reportedly being considered by lawmakers for inclusion with a must-pass annual defense bill. The proposed legislation comes after a controversy in Australia in 2021 when Facebook briefly stripped news from its platform after the country passed a law requiring tech firms to pay for news content.

The News Media Alliance, a trade group representing newspaper publishers that supports the bill, called Facebook's threat "undemocratic and unbecoming," adding that "as the tech platforms compensate news publishers around the world, it demonstrates there is a demand and economic value for news."

More than 20 organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge and the Computer & Communications Industry Association, have urged lawmakers to reconsider support for the "problematic" bill, warning (PDF) that it would "create an ill-advised antitrust exemption for publishers and broadcasters."