California Considers Journalism Usage Fee Bill, Meta Threatens to Block News

California Considers Journalism Usage Fee Bill, Meta Threatens to Block News

California lawmakers are considering a bill known as the Journalism Preservation Act (Assembly Bill 886) that would require large tech companies like Meta and Google to pay digital news providers for content shared on their platforms. The bill aims to support struggling news organizations that have seen steep declines in advertising revenue over the past decade.

However, Meta has stated it will block news on Facebook and Instagram in California if the bill becomes law, arguing that the proposal primarily benefits large out-of-state media companies rather than local publishers. Meta claims the bill fails to recognize that publishers voluntarily post content on its platforms and that journalism’s struggles began before Facebook was widely used.

The bill would require tech companies with over 50 million U.S. monthly active users or $550 billion in revenue to pay usage fees to news providers, with the amounts determined through arbitration. News organizations receiving payments would need to invest at least 70% of the funds into journalism operations.

Supporters say the bill will provide a lifeline to news outlets by redirecting some digital ad revenue back to those bearing the costs of news gathering. But critics argue it could limit the free flow of information online and primarily benefit venture capitalists rather than journalists.

AB 886 is similar to the federal Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which is pending in Congress and is supported and opposed by many of the same stakeholders.

After passing the Assembly on a 55–6 vote, AB 886 is now awaiting a hearing by the Senate’s Judiciary Committee.

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