Meta is blocking access to articles of news for Facebook and Instagram users after Canada passed the Online News Act. This law would require internet companies in Canada to pay publishers for the content they produce.
The Key Facts
Canada, after months of protests from Meta, followed Australia’s lead and passed the Online News Act Thursday in the parliament. The legislation will force platforms such as Meta, and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, to negotiate with publishers compensation agreements if they want to link or post their content.
Meta said in a statement the bill was “fundamentally flawed legislation,” and that it was making the move to block content from publishers and broadcasters in order to comply with the bill.
Meta is yet to say whether or not it will consider allowing more news. In Australia, when a law similar was passed in 2020, Meta initially stated that they would stop news articles before reaching an agreement with the publishers.
If publishers and platforms are unable to reach an agreement, then the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission will be tasked with mediating.
Chris Bittle has said that this bill will be a great way for the media to generate revenue in a period when many news organizations are closing. Bittle said that Meta and Google have largely taken over the advertising dollar for Canadian media, leaving them unable to compete.
California could soon be seeing deals between news publishers and tech platforms. California Journalism Preservation Act is a bill similar to the one that was passed by the California State Assembly this past month. It now awaits Senate approval. Meta says it’ll block Facebook articles in California, just as it does in Canada.
Meta’s move to block news articles for Instagram and Facebook users in Canada does not come as a surprise. Meta and Google had both stated that they would block access to Canadian news content if the bill was passed. Richard Gingras was the Google Vice President of News when he testified before a Senate panel that Google would be required to remove all links to Canadian search results that contained news articles. Canada’s new law is very similar to one passed in Australia in 2021 that gave the country’s government the power to make companies like Meta and Google negotiate compensatory deals for news businesses. In a report published in 2022, the government found that this law was largely successful. Tech companies and media outlets had agreed to over 30 deals. Meta initially said it would block news following the law’s passage, but eventually reached an agreement with the Australian government that reversed their decision. Google, according to a senior executive of the company interviewed by Reuters signed 200 deals that represented outlets that are primarily local or regional.
Meta blocks news on Facebook and Instagram in Canada due to new law (Bloomberg).
The Globe and Mail explains what you should know about Bill C-18 – the new proposed legislation that may affect Canadian media publishers
Meta states it will stop Facebook from displaying news in California, if the recently proposed bill passes (CNBC).