Facebook parent company Meta has threatened to ban all news content from its platform. The reason is a new planned US media law that is intended to protect local journalism in particular. However, Facebook feels disadvantaged and is threatening radical consequences.

Meta has threatened to ban all news content from Facebook if the US Congress passes a new, controversial media law. The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, meanwhile, is intended primarily to provide better protection for local journalism.

Facebook threatens to block news – because of controversial US media law

According to the bill, the big tech companies are supposed to pay for certain media content, as this provides them with clicks and thus advertising revenue. However, Facebook parent company Meta feels massively disadvantaged by this regulation.

Company spokesman Andy Stone told Reuters news agency that the proposal would not take into account that publishers and news sites also benefit from Facebook.

Stone even threatened that Meta would want to delete all news content if the bill passed, “rather than submit to government-mandated negotiations that unfairly disregard any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic and subscriptions.”

Newspaper publishers criticize “abuse of big tech”

Meanwhile, the so-called News Media Alliance, which represents newspaper publishers, is urging the U.S. Congress to add the bill to the defense bill. The trade group argues that “local newspapers cannot afford to endure the use and abuse of Big Tech for several more years.”

Time to act is also running out, it said, “If Congress doesn’t act soon, we risk social media becoming America’s de facto local newspaper.” More than two dozen industry representatives, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Public Knowledge and the Computer & Communications Industry Association, again disapprove of the law.

Facebook feed: Similar law in Australia apparently works

It creates “an ill-advised antitrust exemption for publishers and broadcasters.” Meanwhile, a similar law in Australia appears to have worked.

After discussions with tech companies had previously led to a short-term shutdown of Facebook’s news feed in the country, it went into effect in March 2021. As Reuters reports elsewhere, it would largely work since then, according to a government report.

Since the so-called News Media Bargaining Code went into effect, tech groups such as Meta and Alphabet have signed more than 30 agreements with various media companies, compensating them for content that generated clicks and ad revenue, according to the report.