Meta has responded to new legislation passed in Canada yesterday by removing news content from both Facebook and Instagram.
The Online News Act forces tech giants such as Meta to pay to display news links. Meta had for some time signaled that it would remove news from Canada, a promise it has made good on.
“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 (Bill C-18) taking effect,” the company writes.
“We have repeatedly shared that in order to comply with Bill C-18, passed today in Parliament, content from news outlets, including news publishers and broadcasters, will no longer be available to people accessing our platforms in Canada.”
It is not just Meta that the Online News Act is aimed at. Ottowa also wants Google to negotiate commercial deals with news publishers, paying them for their content something that parliament believes could worth $329M Canadian dollars ($249M) to publishers.
Google has hit back at the law, arguing that the act puts a price on news story links displayed in search results and it can apply to websites that do not produce news. The Californian search giant has not announced plans to cut off news in Canada but it did test blocking content back in February.
Why was the Online News Act passed?
Authorities in Canada want to address declining ad revenues for publishers inside Canada, the act was modeled on similar legislation passed in Australia two years ago. Back in 2021, Google and Facebook also threatened to remove their services with Facebook temporarily drowning out publishers. However, both companies eventually struck deals with Australian media companies after amendments to the legislation were made.
“If the government can’t stand up for Canadians against tech giants, who will?” says Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, who introduced the bill last year.
Danielle Coffey, president of the News Media Alliance global industry group, says the Canadian Parliament “should be applauded for standing up to Big Tech” after the bill’s approval in the Senate.
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.