Facebook threatens Canada of blocking news over proposed legislation
Facebook users in Canada may soon find their Feeds without news from local news outlets. Meta, the parent of Facebook, has warned the government that it will block Canadian news content if it goes through with the Online News Act. The legislation compels online platforms to share revenue with publishers. A similar law was introduced in Australia last year.
Why does this story matter?
- Meta is setting itself up for a high-stakes battle in Canada, the likes of which it fought in Australia last year. Australia passed a similar law but it wasn't without consequences.
- Facebook banned news in the country and took down posts from all government agencies. These actions were reversed only after the law was amended.
- Is Canada headed in the same direction?
Online News Act proposes fair sharing of revenue
Canada's Online News Act was first introduced in April. The goal of the act is to ensure fair revenue sharing between digital platforms and news outlets. The bill is before a parliamentary committee at the moment. The proposed legislation has drawn criticism from news-sharing platforms such as Facebook and Google. Facebook's parent Meta has now issued a warning to the Canadian government.
Meta said it doesn't benefit unfairly from relationship with publishers
In its post, Meta alleged that Canadian authorities didn't invite the company to testify before the parliamentary committee. The company said that the presumption that it "unfairly benefits from the relationship with publishers" is false. It also said that "it may be forced to consider whether we continue to allow the sharing of news content in Canada" if the government doesn't reconsider the legislation.
News outlets are the beneficiaries in the relationship: Meta
According to Meta, it is the news outlets that benefit from their relationship with the company. It said the links to news amount to just 3% of users' Feeds. It added that such content "is not a significant source of revenue." The company said the registered news outlets received 1.9 billion clicks over the last 12 months generating CAD $230 million in revenue.