French news agency sues X, formerly Twitter over news compensation

The lawsuit, filed in Paris, is based on a European Union law that mandates online platforms to negotiate remuneration with publishers for sharing their news.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP), a French news agency, has filed a lawsuit against Elon Musk’s social media platform, X (formerly known as Twitter). AFP accuses X of refusing to engage in discussions about paying for the distribution of news content on the platform. This lawsuit is based on a 2019 European Union law that requires online platforms to negotiate compensation with publishers for sharing their news.

In the past, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, signed a deal with French publishers to pay for content that appears in search engine results after facing a fine for failing to negotiate. This time, AFP seeks information from X to calculate fair compensation for the use of its content on the platform.

Elon Musk, known for criticising traditional news organisations, called AFP’s lawsuit ‘bizarre,’ arguing that the agency wants X to pay for traffic to their site where they make advertising revenue, but X doesn’t benefit from this arrangement.

Why does it matter? This move comes as news organisations worldwide advocate for platforms like X, Meta, and Google to share profits generated from hosting their content. Recently, Canada enacted a law mandating large internet platforms to compensate news publishers for their content, following a similar model adopted by Australia in 2021. Meta has responded to the legislation by ending access to news for users in Canada.