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Meta Platforms Threaten to Block News Access in California Over Ad Revenue-Sharing Bill
Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, warned it may deny California users access to news content if a proposed law requiring tech companies to share ad revenue with publishers is passed. The controversial "California Journalism Preservation Act," now before the state Senate, has sparked intense debates about the future of social media and journalism.
The threat comes after it was reported that lawmakers in California had advanced a bipartisan bill where major tech companies have to pay publishers for news that appears on their platforms.
According to CNBC, the bill called the "California Journalism Preservation Act" was passed in the state assembly with votes of 46-6. However, the state Senate still has to approve it, and it must be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to become an official law.
Meta Platforms said that if this bill is made into law, tech platforms will face new challenges. It said that it may also change the landscape of social media as it will restrict the information that could be posted. If approved, Facebook users in California will be limited compared to users from the rest of the United States.
In response to the advancing of the bill, Meta's spokesperson, Andy Stone, posted this message via Twitter. "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."
On the other hand, the media applauded the passing of the journalism bill in California. The president and chief executive officer of the news/media alliance, Danielle Coffey, released a statement to show their appreciation and stance.
"We applaud the California Assembly for taking decisive and direct action to save journalism through passing the California Journalism & Preservation Act (CJPA)," Coffey said. "We are extremely encouraged to see this progress at the state level. We look forward to the CJPA moving on to the Senate and working with policymakers there to pass the CJPA and restore fairness and balance to the marketplace."
In any case, the Journalism Preservation Act will require online platforms that have at least 50 million active monthly users or a market cap of more than $550 billion, like Meta, to pay a usage fee to digital journalists who provide news online. The fees to be collected are based on the number of news products that the platform displays.