New Law Threatens Major Change to Social Media Platforms

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A newly proposed law in California has caused ripples through the world of social media and journalism this week as it has continued through the state legislature, with social media companies such as Meta, the parent company of Facebook, voicing serious concerns and promising immediate action that could see major changes to how many people receive their news.

Now, Facebook is threatening to completely remove news from its website over the proposed measure, also saying that they could do the same for Instagram.

California Law Prompts Backlash from Meta

California's Journalism Preservation Act, which is currently before the State Assembly, would require certain platforms including Facebook and Instagram to pay a "journalism usage fee" for local content. Those fees would be distributed to publishers who are then required to use 70% of the funds to create and maintain journalism jobs in California. 

However, Facebook has taken exception to the law, threatening to remove all news content from their platforms.

"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 spokesperson Andy Stone posted to Twitter.

Meta adds that it believes the bill “fails to recognize that publishers and broadcasters put their content on our platform themselves and that substantial consolidation in California’s local news industry came over 15 years ago, well before Facebook was widely used.”

California Assembly Bill 886 can be viewed here in its entirety.

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