Meta Platforms Inc, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has announced plans to block access to news content on its platforms for all users in Canada once the Online News Act, a legislation requiring internet giants to pay news publishers, takes effect. The move comes in response to complaints from Canada’s media industry, which seeks tighter regulation of tech companies to prevent them from dominating the online advertising market. The legislation, similar to the one passed in Australia, aims to enforce commercial agreements and payment to news publishers by platforms like Facebook and Google.
- Meta Platforms Inc will block news access on Facebook and Instagram for all users in Canada before the Online News Act becomes law. The company argues that news has no economic value for them, and users do not rely on the platforms for news content.
- The legislation, approved by the Senate upper chamber, requires platforms like Facebook and Google to negotiate commercial deals and pay news publishers for their content. It aims to address concerns raised by Canada’s media industry about tech companies overshadowing news businesses in the online advertising market.
- Google has voiced concerns about the broad scope of the law and has proposed revisions, suggesting that payments should be based on the displaying of news content rather than links. Both Google and Facebook previously threatened to limit their services in Australia but reached agreements with media companies after amendments were made to the legislation.
- The Canadian federal government has defended the legislation against criticisms from Meta (Facebook) and Google, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accusing the tech giants of using “bullying tactics” to oppose the legislation. Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez stated that the government will engage in a regulatory and implementation process after the law takes effect.
- The approval of the legislation in Canada has been praised by industry groups such as the News Media Alliance, which commended the country’s Parliament for standing up to Big Tech. The hope is that other countries, including the United States, will follow suit in implementing similar measures to ensure fair compensation for news publishers.