Facebook (now known as Meta) CEO Mark Zuckerberg warned that his platform, the largest social media platform in the world, may have to remove news content altogether if Congress passes the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), a bill that will create a cartel of media conglomerates capable of forcing Big Tech to transfer wealth to them.
In a comment slamming recent efforts to attach the JCPA to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Zuckerberg said forcing the tech industry to deliver financial handouts to media conglomerates would create a “terrible precedent.”
The statement, recently published on social media by Facebook spokesman Andy Stone, is copied in full below:
If Congress passes an ill-considered journalism bill as part of national security legislation, we will be forced to consider removing news from our platform altogether rather than submit to government-mandated negotiations that unfairly disregard any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic and subscriptions. The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act fails to recognize the key fact: publishers and broadcasters put their content on our platform themselves because it benefits their bottom line – not the other way around. No company should be forced to pay for content users don’t want to see and that’s not a meaningful source of revenue. Put simply: the government creating a cartel-like entity which requires one private company to subsidize other private entities is a terrible precedent for all American businesses.
Zuckerberg’s complaint targets the fact that the JCPA would force a transfer of wealth from one set of wealthy and powerful corporations in Silicon Valley to another — the media industry.
There are plenty of other concerns with the JCPA that Zuckerberg does not mention, including its ability to enable further collusion on censorship between Big Tech and the media, and the potential for large conglomerates that own multiple publications to dominate any cartel created under the provisions of the act.
Perhaps most egregiously given plans from lawmakers to attach it to a “must-pass” defense bill, the JCPA also indirectly benefits America’s foreign adversaries, propping up media companies that Chinese media outlets are increasingly paying to influence the American public.