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California Puts Hold on Bill Requiring Big Tech to Pay for News Until 2024

California Puts Hold on Bill Requiring Big Tech to Pay for News Until 2024

A person watches on a smartphone Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiling the META logo in Los Angeles on Oct. 28, 2021. (Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images)

Sophie Li

Sophie Li

7/14/2023

Updated: 7/18/2023

A California bill that would require big tech companies to pay news outlets a journalism usage fee has been put on hold until 2024.
Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), author of Assembly Bill 886, announced July 7 that the bill would be rescheduled to next year to allow more time for improvement.
“I’ve agreed to make AB 886 a two-year bill in order to ensure the strongest legislation possible—because getting this policy right is more important than getting it quick,” Ms. Wicks said in a statement released the same day.
The proposed bill—also known as the California Journalism Preservation Act—would require tech companies, like Facebook and Instagram, to pay such a fee if they sell advertising with their respective news feeds. It would also require publishers to devote 70 percent of these funds to create and maintain journalism jobs in the state.
The bill passed the Assembly floor with bipartisan support in June.
Under the state Constitution, bills introduced in the first year of Legislative sessions can be carried over to a second year if they pass their house of origin by Jan. 31.
The California State Capitol building in Sacramento, Calif., on April 18, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

The California State Capitol building in Sacramento, Calif., on April 18, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) also announced that he will hold an informational hearing this fall to further explore the bill and the issues it is trying to tackle.
“This interim hearing underscores my commitment to protecting journalism, California journalists, and the access to a free and vibrant press that is essential to our democracy,” Mr. Umberg said in a statement. “My greatest concern is that we enact legislation that is fair, and that the benefits in this bill flow specifically to support local journalists—and in turn, all Californians.”
The goal of the proposed legislation is to address the decline in the state’s local news industry.
However, it has received strong opposition from various tech groups including Facebook’s parent company Meta, which released a statement in June threatening to remove news feeds from its platforms for California residents if the bill is signed into law.
“If the Journalism Preservation Act passes, we will be forced to remove news from Facebook and Instagram rather than pay into a slush fund that primarily benefits big, out-of-state media companies under the guise of aiding California publishers,” Meta Policy Communications Director Andy Stone wrote on Twitter in May.
The social media giant has been engaged in a battle regarding compensation for news publishers, both at the federal level in Congress and in various countries worldwide.
The company threatened, in December, to remove all news from its platform in the U.S. if Congress passes the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which closely resembles the California bill.
Additionally, Meta announced last month the potential withdrawal of news content in Canada over similar proposed legislation.
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Sophie Li

Sophie Li

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Sophie Li is a Southern California-based reporter covering local daily news, state policies, and breaking news for The Epoch Times. Besides writing, she is also passionate about reading, photography, and tennis.

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