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: Facebook insists it benefits news industry economically as California lawmakers press it to pay publishers

As California lawmakers press Facebook and Google to pay publishers for content, a new study from Facebook’s parent company on Monday insists it is benefiting the news business.

The California Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, introduced Monday by Democratic Assemblymember Buffy Wicks of Oakland, would force digital advertising giants such as Meta Platforms Inc.
META,
-1.54%

and Alphabet Inc.’s
GOOGL,
-2.83%

GOOG,
-2.83%

Google to pay news outlets a “journalism usage fee” when they sell advertising alongside news content.

The bill would also require publishers to invest 70% of the profits from that fee in journalism jobs.

“Big Tech has become the de facto gatekeeper of journalism and is using its dominance to set rules for how news content is displayed, prioritized and monetized,” Emily Charrier, who heads the California News Publishers Association, told the Los Angeles Times. 

However, a Facebook-funded report by NERA Economic Consulting concludes news content from traditional publishers is “of low value to Meta and declining, and posts with links to news articles are less than 3% of what people see in their Facebook feeds.” It claimed publishers benefit from traffic from content posted on social-media platforms.

The proportion of adults using Facebook for news declined between 2016-2022 to 30% from 45%, according to the report. What is more, only 13% of U.S. adults prefer to use social media for news, compared to 33% opting for TV, 23% for news websites or apps, 7% radio, and 5% print, the report said. 

Meta has pushed equally hard to oppose a similar congressional bill. The company in December threatened to remove news content from its platform entirely should that bill become law.

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