Meta has implemented measures to prevent the dissemination of news in Canada due to a new law requiring them to compensate publishers

Meta has implemented measures to prevent the dissemination of news in Canada

Meta Platforms (META.O) has initiated the process of blocking news access on Facebook and Instagram for all users in Canada in response to a new law that requires internet giants to pay news publishers. The Canadian government quickly condemned this action, labeling it as “irresponsible,” and emphasized the global significance of the developments in Canada.

The Online News Act, passed by the Canadian parliament, mandates platforms like Google’s parent company Alphabet (GOOGL.O) and Meta to negotiate commercial agreements with Canadian news publishers for using their content. Rachel Curran, Meta’s head of public policy in Canada, asserted that news outlets willingly share their content on Facebook and Instagram to expand their reach and financial prospects, while emphasizing that users typically don’t rely on these platforms for news consumption.

Canadian Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge, responsible for government interactions with Meta, expressed strong disapproval in a Tuesday statement, criticizing the company for blocking access to quality local news instead of fairly compensating news organizations. The minister underscored the government’s commitment to standing firm against tech giants on behalf of Canadians.

Both Meta and Google declared their opposition to the law in June, vowing to block news access on their platforms in Canada. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) also condemned Meta’s move, describing it as an abuse of market power.

The Canadian law shares similarities with a groundbreaking legislation passed in Australia in 2021, which prompted Google and Facebook to threaten curtailment of their services. Ultimately, both companies reached agreements with Australian media firms after amendments were introduced to the legislation. However, Google argues that the Canadian law is broader than those enacted in Australia and Europe, as it places a price on news story links displayed in search results, potentially affecting outlets that don’t produce news.

Meta has contended that news links constitute less than 3% of content in users’ feeds and argued that news content lacks economic value. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previously criticized this argument in May, calling it flawed and hazardous to democracy and the economy.