Facebook says it could remove all news content over new bill

 December 6, 2022

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the platform may remove all news content if Congress passes a new controversial journalism bill.

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) would force social media platforms to pay for news on their sites, creating an impossible system to monitor and enforce.

Facebook's concern

"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 rather than submit to government-mandated negotiations that unfairly disregard any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic and subscriptions," Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said in a statement.

"The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act fails to recognize the key fact: publishers and broadcasters put their content on our platform themselves because it benefits their bottom line – not the other way around. No company should be forced to pay for content users don’t want to see and that’s not a meaningful source of revenue. Put simply: the government creating a cartel-like entity which requires one private company to subsidize other private entities is a terrible precedent for all American businesses," it added.

Beyond Facebook

Several other media outlets have also expressed similar concerns regarding the proposed policy.

"The bill was first introduced by Minnesota’s Democratic senator Amy Klobuchar and received the bipartisan backing of over a dozen other lawmakers, CNN reports. The JCPA would give social-media platforms a four-year grace period during which they could negotiate with news outlets to share advertising revenue," the National Review noted.

"Meta and other large-social media platforms are not alone in opposing the JCPA.

"Organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Wikimedia Foundation have signed a letter addressed to congressional leaders arguing that the bill would make efforts to combat misinformation and disinformation worse," it added.

The law is similar to a proposed 2021 bill in Australia that led to similar concerns. Facebook temporarily blocked news in the nation and later negotiated alongside other media organizations for a deal.

The bill would not only hurt Facebook, but many media outlets that depend on the platform and its users to share news.

The JCPA ultimately serves as a crackdown on free speech, effectively censoring news across the nation.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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