France’s AFP sues Musk’s X social media, cites refusal to discuss payment for news

(Reuters) – Agence France-Presse (AFP) said on Wednesday it filed a lawsuit in Paris against Elon Musk’s X social media platform, formerly known as Twitter, accusing it of failing to discuss potential payment for the distribution of the news agency’s content.

France in 2019 enacted a copyright rule dubbed “neighbouring rights” that compels large online platforms to open talks with publishers seeking remuneration for news.

“Agence France-Presse has expressed its concerns over the clear refusal from Twitter (recently rebranded as ‘X’) to enter into discussions regarding the implementation of neighbouring rights for the press,” the news agency said in a statement.

Musk criticised AFP’s move in an X social media post.

“This is bizarre. They want us to pay *them* for traffic to their site where they make advertising revenue and we don’t!?” he said.

X did not respond to a request for comment.

In 2021, France’s antitrust watchdog fined Alphabet’s Google 500 million euros for failing to comply with orders on how to conduct talks with the country’s news publishers.

Since then, Google has committed to resolving the dispute and has announced deals with AFP and several other leading French news organisations. Meta Platforms’ Facebook too has signed agreements with some French publishers.

(Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)