Facebook and Instagram to Block News Access in Canada
Meta Platforms Inc, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has announced plans to block access to news content on both platforms for all users in Canada. This decision comes in response to the Online News Act, a legislation requiring internet giants to pay news publishers, which was recently approved by the Senate upper chamber.
Legislation Becomes Law Amid Media Industry Complaints
The Online News Act, aimed at regulating tech companies and protecting news businesses in the online advertising market, has been approved and will soon become law. Canada’s media industry has pushed for tighter regulations on internet giants, highlighting the need to address their impact on news publishers.
Facebook’s Confirmation of News Access Removal
Meta confirmed that news availability will be terminated on Facebook and Instagram in Canada ahead of the Online News Act’s enforcement. The company has repeatedly emphasized that news has no economic value for them and that users do not primarily rely on their platforms for news consumption.
The Impact of the Online News Act
The legislation mandates platforms like Facebook and Google to negotiate commercial agreements and compensate news publishers for their content. This move aligns with a similar law enacted in Australia in 2021.
However, US technology companies argue that the proposed regulations are unsustainable and overly broad, expressing concerns about the pricing of news story links and eligibility criteria for compensation.
Google Urgently Seeking Revisions
Google has deemed the bill “unworkable” and is actively seeking revisions and collaboration with the Canadian government. The company proposes that payments should be based on the display of news content instead of links and limited to businesses that produce news and adhere to journalistic standards.
Government Stands Firm, Industry Support Grows
The Canadian government, led by Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, has resisted calls for changes to the legislation, accusing tech giants of using “bullying tactics.”
The government plans to engage in a regulatory and implementation process following the enactment of the law. Industry groups, such as the News Media Alliance, applaud the Parliament’s approval, calling for similar actions worldwide to ensure fair compensation for news publishers.