Tue, 26 Sep 2023

MENLO PARK, California: Facebook parent company Meta Platforms has said it would remove news content in California if the state government passed legislation forcing tech companies to pay publishers.

To reverse a decline in revenues in the local news sector, the state's "California Journalism Preservation Act" proposes requiring "online platforms" to pay a "journalism usage fee" to news providers whose work appears on their pages.

The payment structure is a "slush fund" and the bill would primarily benefit "big, out-of-state media companies under the guise of aiding California publishers," tweeted Meta spokesman Andy Stone, the company's first statement on the California bill.

In countries outside the US, Meta and other tech giants have faced similar national scrutiny over compensation for news publishers.

In response to proposed legislation in Canada, along with Google, Meta said it would remove links to news articles from Canadian search results.

In December, Stone said that if the US Congress passed a bill similar to the proposed California legislation, Meta would remove all news content from its platform.

The proposals are similar to a ground-breaking laws passed by Australia in 2021, which caused Facebook and Google to threaten to end their services, but both companies eventually made their own agreements with Australian media companies after amendments to the legislation were proposed.

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