Bipartisan members of Congress intend to release a bill in the next few weeks to make negotiations ‘with Big Tech platforms’ easier for smaller news publishers in the US. This statement came from Rep. Ken Buck, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, reports Reuters.
Bill helps US publishers against big tech
The panel would present a series of antitrust bills in the coming weeks, according to Buck. And the first bill would allow smaller US news publishers to settle collectively with Facebook and Alphabet’s Google.
The US bill is getting introduced at the same time when Australia is going through a dispute with Facebook. The social media titan blocked Australian publishers’ news feeds and other pages including those of NGOs, and health and emergency services amid a disagreement over a proposed law. The law would demand Facebook and Google to pay news outlets whose links boost traffic to their platforms.
Social media companies target customers through news and news publishers blame them for not sharing sufficient advertising revenue with them. The upcoming legislation could help to make sales in the competing news business.
While Facebook has made arguments with publishers, Google has signed deals with them in France, Australia, and other countries. Google revealed that it had struck a global deal with News Corp that included “significant payments” to the news organization.
The news industry is struggling
According to data from Pew Research, the news industry is definitely crumpling, with employment at US newspapers reduced to half since 2008 due to tumbling advertising revenue and new media habits.
David Chavern, President and Chief Executive Officer of the News Media Alliance, said:
“What publishers have experienced is that platforms go to them one by one, make them sign NDAs and try to optimize per publisher without publishers being able to compare notes.”
“Big national publishers probably have the capacity to get their own deals. If you look at smaller publishers, the only way to get some fair value is if they act together.”
Buck said the upcoming legislation would be parallel to a 2019 bill co-sponsored by panel chair David Cicilline. The bill would have permitted small US news publishers to team up together to negotiate with big giants like Facebook and Google without going through antitrust scrutiny.