Google and Meta Owe Billions to US Publishers

Google and Meta Owe Billions to US Publishers

By auroraoddi

The Value of Journalism for Google and Meta

The issue of the value of content produced by news agencies and its distribution on social media and search platforms is becoming increasingly important as governments around the world press Google and Meta to pay for the news they disseminate. Australia has paved the way with its News Media Bargaining Code, approved in 2021, and Canada has approved a similar law called C-18 at the beginning of this year.

At a global level, similar laws are under consideration in at least a dozen other countries. In the United States, the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act is stalled in the Senate but is still alive, and the Journalism Preservation Act of California is actively being evaluated in that state. In response to what seems to be a global movement to make tech companies pay for the news that adds so much value to their products, Google and Meta are being targeted.

The Value of Journalism for Google and Meta

According to recent research conducted by Anya Schiffrin, Harris Mateen, Patrick Holder, and Harris Tubakovic, the value of journalism and information produced by US publishers for Google and Meta could amount to up to 13.9 billion dollars annually. This figure represents a significant opportunity for publishers to monetize their content and compensate for the journalistic work performed.

Legislation at a Global Level

Australia was one of the first countries to introduce the News Media Bargaining Code, which obliges digital platforms to negotiate with editors the compensation for the use of their news. This law was approved in 2021 and has created a significant precedent for other countries considering similar measures.

In Canada, the law C-18 followed Australia’s example, requiring Google and Meta to pay publishers for news shared on their platforms. At least a dozen other countries, including the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, are evaluating the adoption of similar laws. In the United States, the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act is still under discussion in the Senate, while in California, the Journalism Preservation Act is currently under evaluation. These legislative efforts aim to ensure that technology companies pay fair compensation to publishers for the value of their content.

The Challenge of Valuing Journalism

Determining the value of journalism and information produced by publishers is a complex challenge. Many publishers have experienced a decrease in advertising revenue due to the rising presence of Google and Meta in the online advertising market. Although digital platforms have helped disseminate news more broadly, publishers argue that they should be adequately compensated for the production of quality content that draws user attention and generates ad revenues for the platforms themselves.

The research conducted by Schiffrin, Mateen, Holder, and Tubakovic offers an estimate of the value of journalism for Google and Meta, providing an indication of how much they should pay publishers for their contribution.

The Impact on the Future of Journalism

The issue of tech companies paying for the value of the news is crucial for the future of journalism. Publishers must face increasingly significant economic challenges, while ad revenues are shifting towards digital platforms. If Google and Meta were to pay publishers for their content’s value, it could result in greater financial sustainability for journalism organizations.

This could allow them to invest in journalists and resources to produce quality, independent journalism. At the same time, technology companies could continue to benefit from access to news produced by publishers, maintaining their dominant position in the online information sector.