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Meta to Stop News Access on Facebook and Instagram in Canada

Meta Platforms Inc announces the termination of news access on Facebook and Instagram in Canada, complying with new legislation.

Credits: REUTERS

Meta Platforms Inc revealed its plans to block access to news content on Facebook and Instagram for all Canadian users, following the approval of the Online News Act by the Senate upper chamber. This legislation, aimed at regulating tech giants and ensuring fair compensation for news publishers, will soon become law pending royal assent. The move comes in response to concerns raised by Canada's media industry regarding the dominance of tech companies in the online advertising market and their impact on news businesses.

In a statement, Meta confirmed that news available on their platforms in Canada would cease before the Online News Act takes effect. This decision aligns with Facebook's previous statements emphasizing the lack of economic value associated with news on their platforms and the primary usage of their users, which does not revolve around news consumption.

The Online News Act outlines regulations requiring platforms like Facebook and Google to engage in commercial negotiations and compensate news publishers for their content. This move follows a precedent set by Australia's groundbreaking law in 2021. However, U.S. technology companies argue that these proposals are unsustainable for their business models. Google specifically highlights the broader scope of Canada's law, claiming that it assigns a monetary value to news story links displayed in search results and encompasses outlets that do not produce news. Google proposes revisions to the bill, suggesting that compensation should be based on the display of news content rather than links and that eligibility should be limited to businesses adhering to journalistic standards and producing news.

Google expressed its concerns on Thursday, referring to the bill as "unworkable" and expressing the company's urgency to collaborate with the government on finding a way forward. Meanwhile, the Canadian federal government has resisted calls for revisions, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accusing Meta and Google of using "bullying tactics" against the legislation.

This scenario mirrors a similar situation in Australia, where Google and Facebook threatened to limit their services but eventually reached agreements with Australian media companies following amendments to the legislation. Pablo Rodriguez, the Heritage Minister who introduced the bill, stated that the government would engage in a regulatory and implementation process following the enactment of the legislation.

Danielle Coffey, president of the News Media Alliance global industry group, commended the Canadian Parliament's approval of the bill, highlighting the need for legal action to ensure fair compensation for news publishers both in Canada and globally. Coffey expressed hope that the U.S. would follow suit.

  • Meta Platforms Inc intends to block news access on Facebook and Instagram in Canada in response to the upcoming Online News Act.

  • The legislation aims to regulate tech companies and ensure compensation for news publishers.

  • Google argues that the proposed regulations are unsustainable, suggesting revisions to the bill.

  • Canada's federal government resists making changes, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accusing Meta and Google of employing "bullying tactics."

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