Contact: Matt Pearce email@example.com
California’s journalists strongly condemned Meta’s threat to ban news on platforms like Facebook and Instagram if the California Journalism Preservation Act (AB 886) becomes law. The bill, which faces a likely Assembly vote on Thursday, would charge large platforms like Meta and Google parent Alphabet for scraping journalism for their platforms. The revenue would then be portioned out to publishers and broadcasters with a requirement that at least 70% of the revenue go directly to supporting newsroom jobs.
“This is a corporate bullying tactic timed to intimidate California lawmakers the day before they take up this bill on the Assembly floor,” said Matt Pearce, a reporter at the Los Angeles Times and president of Media Guild of the West. “The California Journalism Preservation Act is a good bill, designed to strengthen local journalism in California, and it deserves civil debate, not threats of censorship.”
“This bill could create many new jobs for California journalists at a time we really need to preserve, protect – and expand – local journalism,” said Michael Cabanatuan, a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle, treasurer of the Pacific Media Workers Guild and western regional vice president of the NewsGuild-CWA. “The time is right for this bill.”
Meta and Facebook profit directly off the work done by California’s journalists and media workers and they need to pay for that labor,” said Frank Arce, vice president of CWA District 9.
“Censorship is un-American and Meta’s threat poses major ramifications for our democracy,” said NewsGuild-CWA President Jon Schleuss. “Our democracy depends on journalism, especially at the local level. Meta needs to decide whether it cares about the health of the United States or not.”
The Media Guild of the West and Pacific Media Workers Guild are local unions of The NewsGuild-CWA, which is a sector of the Communications Workers of America. The NewsGuild-CWA represents workers at the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Orange County Register, the San Jose Mercury News, The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa and many more California newsrooms.