Meta has announced its decision to remove news content from Facebook and Instagram in Canada following the passage of the Online News Act by the country’s Senate. The legislation, known as Bill C-18, will require tech companies like Meta and Google to engage in negotiations with news publishers and compensate them for their content.
Meta has been a vocal critic of the Online News Act for some time. In a statement issued in May, Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, expressed the company’s perspective, stating, “The world is constantly evolving, and publishers, like everyone else, must adapt. Asking a social media company to subsidize news publishers for content that is not highly valued by our users is comparable to requesting email providers to pay the postal service for the decline in letter mailing.” On June 1st, Meta also announced its plans to test the removal of news from its platforms in anticipation of the law’s passage. The Online News Act will come into effect six months after it receives royal assent, according to the Associated Press.
Pablo Rodriguez, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, has responded to Meta’s decision to remove news content. On Twitter, Rodriguez stated, “Facebook is well aware that they are currently not obligated under the act. Following Royal Assent of Bill C-18, the Government will engage in a regulatory and implementation process.”
Google has also experimented with blocking news content for certain Canadian users, but the company has expressed its commitment to finding a potential solution that addresses its concerns. In a statement to The Verge, Google spokesperson Jenn Crider said, “We are making every effort to avoid an undesirable outcome. Throughout the process, we have proposed practical and thoughtful solutions that would have enhanced the bill and allowed us to further invest in Canada’s news ecosystem. Unfortunately, none of our concerns have been addressed so far.”
According to the National Post, Meta is currently engaged in “last-minute talks” with Rodriguez as of Thursday afternoon.
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Deepak Sen is a tech enthusiast who covers the latest technological innovations, from AI to consumer gadgets. His articles provide readers with a glimpse into the ever-evolving world of technology.