Meta Threatens to Remove Facebook and Instagram News Stories in California If Bill Passes

The potential statute would require platforms and sites to pay a fee to news providers

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Meta has provided its official statement on the California Journalism Preservation Act, making it clear the company is not a fan of the bill that would charge platforms with paying for news content hosted there. Should the bill go through, Meta plans to remove news content from Facebook and Instagram.

The company’s communications director, Andy Stone, posted a statement on Twitter announcing Meta’s official stance on the matter.

The bill in question would require sites such as Facebook to pay a fee to news providers in exchange for those providers’ work appearing on the platforms. Said platforms’ existing setup is largely predicated on news providers voluntarily posting rather than expecting payment for providing content.

Meta argued the bill won’t serve its supposed purpose and will aid out-of-state companies, essentially positing that the bill is misguided and not worthy of Meta’s cooperation. Instead, Meta will simply remove news from Facebook and Instagram altogether if the Journalism Preservation Act reaches the finish line.

This isn’t the first time Meta has threatened such a thing: In December, Stone (on behalf of Meta) posted a similar statement regarding a similar bill Congress was considering.

Furthermore, Meta is making the same threat of news withdrawal in Canada as it is in California regarding a bill that is similarly aimed at forcing platforms like Facebook pay for the news outlets’ linked content (via Reuters).

In response to TheWrap’s request for comment, Meta contended that Facebook does not proactively pull news links or content from publishers or broadcasters and place it in users’ feeds. Meta also said “Facebook advertisements are not linked to specific content being viewed but rather user characteristics. Ad revenue cannot be tied directly to journalism since content is substitutable, meaning ads appear to a user whether they are viewing their friends’ photos, a local news article or an interesting video.”

Despite wins in recent months like the upholding of Section 230 which protects social networks from a host of liability issues, Meta still faces obstacles such as California’s bill and the would-be associated cost of hosting news.