Facebook To Drop News If Government Creates Media ‘Cartel’

In September, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a plan allowing media outlets to negotiate with Big Tech companies for better deals. Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is furious. They threatened to drop news from the platform if Congress decided to pass the bill. The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act would grant small news outlets exceptions to anti-collision regulations.

The bill would create a four-year window in which the outlets could either withhold content or negotiate with content distributors on better terms. The JCPA typically bars coalitions from excluding groups based on business size or political leaning. But Republicans are skeptical and fear the plan would cause an imbalance in profit, benefiting legacy media groups the most. The JCPA allows the exclusion of groups that spread misinformation and hate speech.

Meta spokesman Andy Stone voiced the company’s opposition to the plan on Monday. He said if it passed, Meta would “be forced to consider removing news from our platform altogether.” In layman’s terms, Facebook would rather not submit to government mandates negotiations. The platform won’t make as much profit with these deals.

Stone said the bill created a cartel-like company that required subsidies from one private company to other private entities. It “is a terrible precedent for all American businesses,” he said. Others oppose the bill for different reasons. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) ridiculed the bill as “the antithesis of conservatism” that “poses a tremendous threat to free speech and free press.”

Other Congress members are opposed to the bill too. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) expressed concern about giving too much power to establishment media. Jordan said at “the same time we’re looking to use antitrust law to deal with Big Tech, we’re going to give an antitrust exemption to the Big Media.” The move doesn’t seem to make sense.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said he would reconsider his position as a cosponsor on the JCPA after hearing testimony from independent journalist Glenn Greenwald about the empowerment of Big Media to add more censorship. Gaetz said he worried “quite a bit” that journalism has become a very concentrated industry. Despite his concerns, it is unclear if Gaetz pulled out of the sponsorship since the bill is no longer listed on his Congress profile.