Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: META) is threatening to pull news content from Facebook and Instagram if Californian lawmakers pass the California Journalism Preservation Act.
The proposed legislation, called Assembly Bill 886 and penned by Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, mandates social media companies such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to pay a monthly “journalism usage fee” based on their monthly ad revenue. The fee’s amount would be established through arbitration.
The proposed law intends to funnel this money into a fund that would subsequently pay content-creating companies. Media companies, in turn, would be obligated to use at least 70% of these funds to pay journalists and support staff. This measure is seen as a solution to the dwindling advertising revenue and personnel in local newspapers, attributed to the rise of social media. The bill’s supporters argue that the decline of local news outlets has negatively affected communities, leading to the emergence of “news deserts.”
Meta’s argument against the bill centers on the fact that news publishers voluntarily share their content on social media platforms. They also pointed out that the consolidation of local news in California preceded the widespread use of Facebook. According to Meta, news content doesn’t dominate users’ feeds, as it accounts for less than 3% of what users see. If the bill is enacted, Meta has threatened to withdraw news from Facebook and Instagram, claiming that the bill would mainly serve big, out-of-state media companies under the guise of assisting California publishers.
The tech industry, including the Chamber of Progress— which is backed by tech funding, has opposed the bill. Their analysis suggests that the primary recipients of the proposed law would be large media outlets known for disinformation, such as Fox News, the New York Post, and Newsmax, instead of smaller journalism outlets.
Information for this briefing was found via Reuters. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.