There was blowback when Facebook Inc. announced that it would “restrict publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content” in response to a new bill that requires major media platforms to pay for news content shared on their sites. Just five days later, Facebook restored news sharing in Australia after further discussions with the government. The incident has, however, caused many to wonder if similar situations could arise in their own countries.
Regulations on Facebook could be in the future for the United States. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (DFL-MN) and John Kennedy (R-LA), and Reps. David Cicilline (D-RI, 1) and Ken Buck (R-CO, 4) have reintroduced a bill, The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act of 2019, that would allow news outlets to more forcefully negotiate the sharing of their content on digital media platforms by exempting the outlets from antitrust laws – thereby allowing them to bargain collectively. This would let publishers negotiate prices and withdraw or withhold content from media platforms together.
Writing for Axios, Ashley Gold says involved U.S. lawmakers are following the circumstances around the news sharing law in Australia ahead of two Congressional antitrust hearings this week, one lead by Klobuchar. Gold reports The News Media Alliance and Microsoft Corp. President Brad Smith are lobbying in support of the U.S. bill.