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Meta news ban persists in Canada as Online News Act enforced

Meta news ban persists in Canada as Online News Act enforced Photo: Meta news ban persists in Canada as Online News Act is enforced (GettyImages)

Canada has enacted Bill C-18, the Online News Act, requiring tech giants like Google and Meta to compensate news publishers for their content. This move is seen as a significant step to support the struggling journalism industry in Canada but has led to tension with Meta, which has restricted access to news on its platforms in response, according to BBC.

The law mandates companies with a global revenue of over C$1 billion and a Canadian user base of at least 20 million monthly visitors to negotiate payment agreements with news publishers.

Google has agreed to pay Canadian news outlets C$100 million annually, but no deal has been reached with Meta, which has criticized the law as "fundamentally flawed."

In the sole agreement reached between the government and Google, a portion of the funds, as high as 30%, will be allocated to broadcasters, including 7% directed to Canada's public broadcaster, the CBC.

In contrast, Meta has responded by removing all news links from Facebook and Instagram in Canada, significantly affecting the reach and discoverability of news publishers, especially smaller and startup outlets.

According to a recent study conducted by the Media Ecosystem Observatory at McGill University and the University of Toronto, Canadian news views on Facebook decreased by 90% following the ban's implementation.

The Canadian government, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, remains firm in its stance against Meta. The legislation addresses the financial struggles of Canadian news outlets due to declining advertising revenues. It follows a model similar to legislation passed in Australia in 2021, which also led to a temporary news blackout by Meta.

Origin and purpose

The origin of these developments dates back to April 5, 2022, when the then-heritage minister Pablo Rodriguez introduced Bill C-18, the Online News Act. This was in response to the challenges faced by the journalism industry, including mass layoffs, disinformation on social media, and tech giants' domination of the ad business.

The law seeks to create a more equitable distribution of funds from tech giants to news publishers, who have traditionally benefited less from sharing their content on digital platforms.

The enactment of Bill C-18 reflects a global trend where governments are intervening to ensure fair compensation for news content in the digital age, balancing tech companies' interests with journalism's sustainability.

Also, we recently wrote that The European Consumer Rights Organization (Noyb) has filed a complaint against the social media platforms Facebook and Instagram.