France’s AFP sues Elon Musk’s X over payments for news

Tesla CEO labels news agency’s lawsuit stemming from 2019 EU law ‘bizarre’.

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Elon Musk's social media platfrom X is being sued by the news agency AFP [File: Joel Saget/AFP]

French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) has filed a lawsuit against Elon Musk’s X, accusing the social media platform of refusing to engage in discussions about payments for the distribution of news.

AFP said on Wednesday it had filed the lawsuit in Paris to compel the platform formerly known as Twitter to hand over information that would allow it to calculate fair compensation for the sharing of its content.

The claim stems from a law passed by the European Union in 2019 that obligates online platforms to negotiate remuneration for news with publishers.

“As a leading advocate for the adoption of neighbouring rights for the press, AFP remains unwavering in its commitment to the cause,” AFP said in a statement.

News organisations, which are struggling with plunging ad revenues, have long advocated that platforms such as X, Meta and Google share profits generated from the hosting of their content.

Canada last month enacted a law requiring large internet platforms to compensate news publishers for the content, following the adoption of a similar model by Australia in 2021.

Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, announced on Tuesday it had begun the process of ending access to news for users in Canada in response to the legislation.

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, last year signed a deal with French publishers to pay for content that appears in search engine results, after France’s anti-trust watchdog fined the tech giant 500 million euros ($547m) for failing to enter negotiations.

Musk, who is a regular critic of traditional news organisations, described AFP’s lawsuit as “bizarre”.

“They want us to pay *them* for traffic to their site where they make advertising revenue and we don’t!?” Musk wrote in a post on X.

X said it would provide a response soon when contacted for comment by Al Jazeera.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies