The legislature in Congress is drafting a bill that will allow news publishers to unite against Facebook and Google.
The House Justice Committee plans to enact laws in the coming weeks that will allow small U.S. news organizations to negotiate with the two tech titans, said Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), The panel’s top Republican.
The bill would add to growing regulatory pressure on Facebook and Google, who have been accused of having a stranglehold on news outlets by using their content without adequate compensation.
Social media companies use news to attract customers and have been accused by news publishers of not sharing enough advertising revenue with them. The legislation could boost sales in the troubled news business. Pew Research data shows US newspaper employment has fallen by half since 2008 as advertising revenue fell and media habits changed.
The battle reached a climax this week in Australia Facebook has prevented users there from sharing news content in response to a proposed law that would allow publishers to negotiate payments from technology giants for the use of their content that appears in search results or news feeds.
The upcoming U.S. legislation would be similar to a 2019 bill that would have allowed small publishers to negotiate with Facebook and Google without breaking antitrust laws.
This action was co-sponsored by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), who chairs the Antitrust Committee of the Justice Committee.
“Local journalism is such an important part of keeping the American people informed, but many of our community newspapers have been put down by the threat of big tech,” said Rep. Buck. “This bipartisan bill will send a lifeline to local news organizations struggling to survive because Google and Facebook have decimated the news industry.”
Google has already negotiated offers Paying media groups around the world for their content, including News Corp., owned by The Post, and the Wall Street Journal.
The news of the bill came after another House body announced plans to enlist three Big Tech CEOs for another round of Congressional testimony.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, Sundar Pichai, head of Google, and Jack Dorsey, head of Twitter, will appear before the Energy and Trade Committee on March 25 to discuss “the misinformation and disinformation plaguing online platforms.” . Legislators announced Thursday.
All three men were grilled by the Senate Commerce Committee in October. Dorsey and Zuckerberg returned for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in November.