Washington Examiner

Senate bill aims to support local and conservative news against Big Tech.

A Bill to Empower Local News Outlets Against Big Tech Platforms

A groundbreaking bill aimed at supporting local and conservative news outlets in their negotiations with Big Tech platforms took a significant step forward in the Senate on Thursday. Inspired by similar legislation in Canada and California, the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act received bipartisan approval in a 14-7 vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee, paving the way for further progress.

Leveling the Playing Field for Smaller News Outlets

The bill, known as the JCPA, seeks to enable smaller news organizations with 1,500 or fewer employees to collaborate in negotiations with Google or Meta (formerly Facebook) for fairer compensation for the stories shared on these platforms. Importantly, this collaboration would not violate antitrust laws, providing these outlets with a much-needed boost.

“The JCPA allows news organizations to join forces and exert some influence over two of the most influential companies in the world,” emphasized Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), one of the bill’s co-sponsors, during the hearing.

Uncertain Future and Industry Backlash

While the JCPA’s progress in the Senate is promising, its fate remains uncertain. In the previous term, the bill faced obstacles in the Senate, and Speaker Kevin McCarthy has expressed skepticism about its chances in the House, stating that it will likely be “dead in the House.”

Meta, in response to the bill, has threatened to cease sharing news stories on Facebook and Instagram if the JCPA becomes law. However, California’s State Assembly has already passed its own version of the bill, despite Meta’s objections. The bill now awaits Senate approval and the governor’s signature.

International Impact and Meta’s Controversial Stance

Notably, Canada is also expected to introduce its own version of the bill. In response to the Canadian legislation, Meta has gone as far as blocking news for select users, demonstrating its willingness to follow through on its threats.

However, it is worth noting that Meta has previously backed away from similar threats. In Australia, the company temporarily banned the sharing and viewing of news stories after the country implemented a law requiring Big Tech giants to compensate news outlets for their content. The ban was swiftly reversed due to international pressure.

Despite the challenges and controversies surrounding the JCPA, its potential impact on the relationship between news outlets and Big Tech platforms cannot be underestimated. As the bill continues its journey through the legislative process, its outcome will undoubtedly shape the future of journalism in the digital age.

Click here to read more from The Washington Examiner.



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