Facebook and Instagram block news in Canada

Facebook and Instagram block news in Canada

Meta Blocks News on Facebook and Instagram in Canada

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Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has followed through on its threat to block news content on these platforms in Canada. Starting from August 1st, Canadian users will no longer have access to news articles or updates from reputable news outlets. This move comes in response to the Online News Act, which was passed by Canada’s Parliament in June 2023.

The Online News Act, also known as Bill C-18, aims to ensure fair revenue sharing between digital platforms and news outlets. It seeks to address the issue of tech giants profiting from driving traffic to news articles without adequately compensating news publishers. Inspired by similar legislation proposed in Australia and California, the Canadian government wants Meta and Google to pay Canadian news outlets for the value they bring to their platforms.

Meta, however, disagrees with the premise of the legislation. They argue that it is based on the incorrect assumption that they unfairly benefit from news content shared on their platforms. In fact, they claim that news outlets benefit more from the exposure and reach provided by Facebook and Instagram. Instead of engaging with Canadian lawmakers to find a solution, Meta has chosen to comply with the law by blocking access to news altogether.

This decision has already had a significant impact on Canadian journalists and news outlets. Local newsrooms, already struggling with the disruption caused by social media platforms, are now facing complete invisibility on Facebook and Instagram. Christopher Curtis, co-founder of a newsletter called The Rover, expressed the plight of journalists, stating, “This fight with Meta is making it harder and harder. Our livelihoods are at stake.” Cult MTL and indigenous writer Anna Mary McKenzie also shared their frustration on Twitter, highlighting the content being blocked.

The dispute between Meta and the Canadian government raises essential questions about the role of digital platforms in the distribution of news. While social media has revolutionized how news is disseminated, it has also disrupted traditional news models and revenue streams. Journalism is a vital pillar of democracy, and ensuring a sustainable future for newsrooms is crucial. The Online News Act attempts to address this issue, albeit with differing opinions on its effectiveness.

To summarize:

  • Meta has blocked news content on Facebook and Instagram in Canada.
  • The decision is in response to the Online News Act, which seeks fair revenue sharing between digital platforms and news outlets.
  • Meta argues that news outlets benefit more from their platforms than the other way around.
  • Canadian newsrooms are already struggling, and this decision further impacts their visibility and revenue streams.

While this dispute may have short-term consequences, it also highlights the need for ongoing dialogue and collaboration between tech giants and news publishers. Only through open communication and shared understanding can we ensure the sustainability of journalism in the digital age.