AFP, a French news agency, has filed a lawsuit against Elon Musk’s social media platform, X, accusing the company of refusing to engage in discussions about compensating news distribution. AFP filed the lawsuit in Paris, seeking information from X, formerly known as Twitter, that would allow them to calculate fair payment for the sharing of AFP’s content. The claim is based on a 2019 European Union law requiring online platforms to negotiate remuneration with publishers for news content.
In a statement, AFP emphasised its unwavering commitment to advocating for the press’s neighbouring rights. The organisation has been a vocal supporter of news organisations receiving a cut of profits generated by major platforms such as X, Meta (formerly known as Facebook), and Google. These platforms host news content, which frequently receives high traffic, but news publishers face declining ad revenues, making it critical for them to be fairly compensated.
Around the world, the issue of internet platforms compensating news publishers is gaining traction. Following in the footsteps of Australia, which implemented a similar model in 2021, Canada recently enacted legislation requiring large internet platforms to pay news publishers for their content. In response to new Canadian legislation, Meta announced its decision to restrict access to news for Canadian users.
Similarly, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has agreed to pay French publishers for content that appears in its search engine results. This action comes after France’s anti-trust regulator fined Google 500 million euros ($547 million) for failing to engage in negotiations with publishers.
Elon Musk, known for his outspoken criticism of traditional news organisations, reacted sceptically to AFP’s lawsuit. He called the legal action “bizarre” and made a counter-argument. Musk questioned why AFP expects to be paid for traffic directed to their site, where they benefit from advertising revenue, whereas platforms like X do not profit directly from the content shared.
As the debate over fair compensation for news content continues, news organisations such as AFP are determined to protect their rights and negotiate fair compensation with the online platforms that host their stories. The outcome of this lawsuit, as well as the broader discussions between news organisations and internet platforms, will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for the future of news distribution and the media industry as a whole.