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  • Kyle Chua

Meta Commences Facebook, Instagram News Blackout in Canada in Response to New Law

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

Canadians can no longer look to Facebook and Instagram to get news.

Meta
Credit: Reuters

Meta has commenced a news blackout on the two social media platforms in Canada, preventing the country's users from viewing or sharing news links, along with seeing videos and photos posted by local news outlets.


"News links and content posted by news publishers and broadcasters in Canada will no longer be viewable by people in Canada," wrote Meta in a news release. "We are identifying news outlets based on legislative definitions and guidance from the Online News Act."


International news outlets can continue to post and share news content on both Facebook and Instagram, but the content won't be viewable to Canadian users.


Meta said it could take a few weeks for the change to take effect for all users in the country.

Meta
Credit: Reuters

The move comes in response to the aforementioned Online News Act, a new law that requires certain digital platforms to negotiate revenue-sharing agreements with news outlets. The goal of the law is to promote the sustainability of the Canadian news ecosystem and the maintenance of press independence in the country, among others.


Many news outlets have struggled over the last few years due to a collapse in advertiser spending. The rise of Facebook and Google have shifted advertisers away from traditional media and towards social media. The affected news outlets are now hoping regulators can level the playing field in the competition for ad revenue. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) points out that as much as 80% of the ad revenue in Canada goes to Facebook and Google.


Google also plans to block Canadian users from accessing links to news stories across several of its platforms.


It's not the first time Meta and Google have threatened news blackouts on their respective platforms due to laws concerning ad-revenue sharing. In 2021, Australia passed a similar law, making it mandatory for the two tech giants to pay local news outlets for the news content made available or linked on their platforms. Meta was initially against the law, stopping Australian users from sharing news links on Facebook for a short while. However, the social media company, along with Google, eventually relented and agreed to deals with Australian news outlets.

 
  • Meta has commenced a news blackout on Facebook and Instagram in Canada, preventing the country's users from viewing or sharing news links, along with seeing videos and photos posted by local news outlets.

  • International news outlets can continue to post and share news content on both Facebook and Instagram, but the content won't be viewable to Canadian users.

  • Google also plans to block Canadian users from accessing links to news stories across several of its platforms.

  • The move comes in response to the aforementioned Online News Act, a new law that requires certain digital platforms to negotiate revenue-sharing agreements with news outlets.

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