A new anti-Big Tech bill was pulled from a major defense bill signed Tuesday that would’ve charged social-media networks for spreading news content.
- The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) was introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on April 10, 2021.
- The bill would require social-media companies like Facebook and Google to pay news outlets to post news content online.
- “This bill creates a four-year safe harbor from antitrust laws for print, broadcast, or digital news companies to collectively negotiate with online content distributors regarding the terms on which the news companies’ content may be distributed by online content distributors,” it says.
- The finalized National Defense Authorization Act did not contain the JCPA when it was signed on Tuesday night.
Why it’s News
The passing of the JCPA could have been a disaster for social-media companies, which regularly circulate and trend local, national, and global news. Meta Platforms directly challenged the bill on Monday, saying that it would ban posting news on its platforms if congress passed the ability to collectively negotiate against it and demand financial compensation.
The JCPA was proposed as a means to help protect struggling local journalism industries and challenge the monopolistic practices of Big Tech. Trade groups like the News Media Alliance have praised the bill as a challenge to Big Tech’s monopoly on news and the negative effect it has on local journalism.
“Local papers cannot afford to endure several more years of Big Tech’s use and abuse, and time to take action is dwindling. If Congress does not act soon, we risk allowing social media to become America’s de facto local newspaper,” says the News Media Alliance.
The bill was opposed by over two dozen groups including the ACLU, Public Knowledge, and the Computers and Communications Industry Association, in addition to Meta and Big Tech, Yahoo Finance reports.
“Tech industry and civil society groups aggressively pushed back against the bill, arguing that it would benefit big news conglomerates and compel tech companies to subsidize purveyors of misinformation,” says Axios.
“Our bipartisan legislation ensures media outlets will be able to band together and negotiate for fair compensation from the Big Tech companies that profit from their news content, allowing journalists to continue their critical work of keeping communities informed,” says Senator Klobuchar.