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May 22
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Lobbyists for Facebook and Google are against new US legislation that aims to help news publishers by allowing them to collectively bargain against tech companies over revenue sharing and other deals, Reuters reported.

US lawmakers have submitted a bill to Congress to address the perceived imbalance of power between news outlets and tech giants. Critics have accused companies of using content to increase traffic and ad revenues on their platforms without fair compensation to publishers.

The move increases pressure on tech companies, which face antitrust lawsuits and the threat of increased regulation.

Google, which declined to comment on the proposal, launched its website, stating that it is "one of the world's biggest financial supporters of journalism" thanks to ad revenue and content royalties. Google said its search engine sends readers to publishers' websites 24 billion times a month.

Also opposing the bill are two technology industry trade groups that Facebook and Google belong to -- the Computer & Communications Industry Association and NetChoice.

Some industry observers say the proposal could disproportionately benefit the private equity firms and hedge funds that have taken over midsize and large newspaper networks. Newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune and the Miami Herald are controlled by companies such as Alden Global Capital and Chatham Asset Management.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, who introduced the bill in the Senate, said the situation in Australia was evidence of Facebook's over-influence and the need to give publishers more leverage. “We have to have an even playing field and allow people to negotiate,” she said Thursday in a congressional hearing.

Technology platforms seem to have few friends in Congress, where Democrats are outraged by misinformation online and conservatives claim to be harassed.

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