Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has announced plans to restrict news content on its platforms for Canadian consumers after the country’s parliament passed a controversial online news bill. The bill requires major platforms like Meta and Google to compensate news publishers for the content posted on their sites. This move by Meta follows a similar action taken by Facebook in Australia last year. The Online News Act, which recently cleared the Canadian Senate, aims to establish rules for negotiations and payments between platforms and news organizations. In response, Meta has criticized the legislation and will limit news availability on its platforms in Canada.
The Impact of the Online News Act:
Canada’s Online News Act, which recently passed the Senate, mandates platforms like Meta and Google to negotiate commercial agreements and financially compensate news organizations for their content. The law seeks to create a fairer digital news market and ensure struggling news organizations receive compensation for their content shared on these platforms.
Meta’s Response and Platform Restrictions:
Meta has expressed strong opposition to the legislation, calling it “fundamentally flawed” and ignoring the realities of how their platforms operate. In response, Meta has decided to restrict news availability on Facebook and Instagram for all Canadian users before the bill comes into effect. The company argues that being compelled to pay for links or content that they do not post is neither sustainable nor workable.
Google’s Perspective and Negotiations:
Google has also voiced concerns about the bill, deeming it “unworkable” in its current form. However, the company has expressed a willingness to collaborate with the Canadian government to find a way forward. Google intends to continue discussions to address the challenges posed by the legislation.
Government’s Justification and Industry Reactions:
The Canadian federal government argues that the online news bill is necessary to enhance fairness in the digital news market and provide fair compensation to struggling news organizations. Media industry groups have praised the passage of the bill, seeing it as a step toward market fairness and the recognition of the value of quality journalism.
The passage of Canada’s Online News Act has prompted Meta to restrict news content on its platforms for Canadian users. Meta, along with Google, has criticized the legislation and its requirement to compensate news publishers. The impact of this move on the availability of news and its implications for the Canadian digital news market remain to be seen. As discussions between the platforms and the government continue, the implementation of the Online News Act in Canada is expected within six months.