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Facebook Wants Its Cake: May End Content on News if Bill Passes

Tech giant opposes bill forcing payments to local media outlets.

BY ROBERT CHANNUCK, CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Meta/Facebook is threatening to remove all local news from its platform following reports thatproposed legislation to force Big Tech to pay publishers for news content is being added to a defense billin a bid to win approval during the lame-duck Congress session.

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act made it through the Senate Judiciary Committee inSeptember, but is running out of time to pass before the end of the year, when the House will flip toRepublican control. Including it in the National Defense Authorization Act, an annual “must-pass” bill, isseen as a strategy for getting it done before the new Congress convenes in January.

The legislative maneuver generated criticism Monday from Meta/Facebook, which issued a statement inopposition to the journalism act, and its potential pairing with the defense act. The text of the defense bill hasnot been released, but a source familiar with the matter told the Tribune that lawmakers are considering adding the journalism measure to the legislation.

“If Congress passes an ill-considered journalism bill as part of national security legislation, we will be forcedto consider removing news from our platform altogether rather than submit to government-mandatednegotiations that unfairly disregard any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic andsubscriptions,” Meta/Facebook said.

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