Facebook, Instagram to End News Access in Canada Over Incoming Law on Paying Publishers

Social

Meta Platforms plans to end access to news on Facebook and Instagram for all users in Canada once a parliament-approved legislation requiring internet giants to pay news publishers comes into effect, the company said on Thursday.

The legislation, known as the Online News Act, was approved by the Senate upper chamber earlier on Thursday and will become law after receiving royal assent from the governor general, a formality.

The legislation was proposed after complaints from Canada’s media industry, which wants tighter regulation of tech companies to prevent them from elbowing news businesses out of the online advertising market.

“Today, we are confirming that news availability will be ended on Facebook and Instagram for all users in Canada prior to the Online News Act taking effect,” Meta said in a statement.

Facebook had telegraphed such a move for weeks, saying news has no economic value to the company and that its users do not use the platform for news.

The act outlines rules to force platforms such as Facebook and Alphabet’s Google to negotiate commercial deals and pay news publishers for their content, a step similar to a groundbreaking law passed in Australia in 2021.

The US technology companies have said the proposals are unsustainable for their businesses. Google has argued Canada’s law is broader than those enacted in Australia and Europe, saying it puts a price on news story links displayed in search results and can apply to outlets that do not produce news.

The search engine giant proposed that the bill be revised to make the displaying of news content, rather than links, as basis for payment and to specify that only businesses that produce news and adhere to journalistic standards are eligible.

A spokesperson Google said on Thursday that the bill remains “unworkable” and that the company was urgently seeking to work with the government “on a path forward.”

Canada’s federal government has so far pushed back against suggestions to make changes. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Meta and Google were using “bullying tactics” as they campaign against the legislation.

Google and Facebook had also threatened to curtail their services in Australia when a similar rules were passed into law. Both eventually struck deals with Australian media companies after amendments to the legislation were offered.

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, who introduced the bill last year, said on Thursday that the government “will engage in a regulatory and implementation process” after the legislation comes into effect.

“If the government can’t stand up for Canadians against tech giants, who will?” Rodriguez said in a statement.

The heritage ministry has had meetings with Facebook and Google this week, and it looks forward to further discussions, a government spokesperson said.

Danielle Coffey, president of the News Media Alliance global industry group, said the Canadian Parliament “should be applauded for standing up to Big Tech” after the bill’s approval in the Senate.

“We are encouraged by the increasing recognition of the need for legal action to ensure just compensation, both in Canada and abroad, and hope to see the United States follow suit,” Coffey said.

© Thomson Reuters 2023 


Apple unveiled its first mixed reality headset, the Apple Vision Pro, at its annual developer conference, along with new Mac models and upcoming software updates. We discuss all the most important announcements made by the company at WWDC 2023 on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.

Articles You May Like

Apple WWDC 2024 Keynote Today: How to Watch Livestream, Full Event Schedule and What to Expect
Microsoft Announces 3 New Xbox Series S/X Console Variants, All-Digital Xbox Series X Coming This Year
Chinese Actor SecShow Conducts Massive DNS Probing on Global Scale
Apple Intelligence, AI-Powered Siri, and ChatGPT Integration: Every AI Announcement Made At WWDC 2024
Google Takes Down Influence Campaigns Tied to China, Indonesia, and Russia