The Journalism Preservation Act would require some 70% of the revenue generated from news articles on social media to be shared with media organizations to help the struggling news industry in California.
Supporters of the bill see it as an important lifeline to the industry that has seen its money cut significantly over the past few years as advertising revenue dries up.
However, Meta believes the bill would really help big-media companies and not smaller independent news organizations in the state.
“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,” Meta spokesman Andy Stone said.
California is the first state to try a measure like the one proposed in the bill. However, such proposals aren’t new, and Meta‘s response isn’t either. The company has threatened to cut off access to news stories on its platforms in Australia where a similar measure was proposed. And when U.S. lawmakers floated the idea of letting media companies negotiate a revenue-sharing plan with tech companies, Meta threatened to pull news stories from its platforms nationwide.
Since tech companies like Meta are so resistant to surrendering news-related revenue, many news sites have shifted away from social media and instead focused on newsletters to claw back some revenue from readers.
The news and tech industry has been hemorrhaging over the past few years, suffering thousands of layoffs and closures. Just this year, Vice Media filed for bankruptcy right after Buzzfeed News shut its doors.
The bill will go before the California Assembly Thursday and, if it passes, will quickly move to the state Senate.