Home Tech Facebook and Instagram to impose limitations on news accessibility in Canada

Facebook and Instagram to impose limitations on news accessibility in Canada


Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has announced its plans to restrict news access for Canadian consumers following the passing of a controversial online news bill by parliament. The bill mandates that major platforms must compensate news publishers for the content posted on their sites. Both Meta and Google have already been testing limited news access for some Canadian users. In 2021, Australian users experienced a similar restriction on Facebook, where they were blocked from sharing or viewing news due to a comparable law.

Canada’s Online News Act, which recently cleared the senate, establishes regulations that require platforms like Meta and Google to negotiate commercial agreements and provide payment to news organizations for their content. Meta has criticized the law, referring to it as “fundamentally flawed legislation” that disregards the operational realities of their platforms. Meta stated that news availability on Facebook and Instagram will be terminated for all Canadian users before the bill takes effect.

According to a Meta spokesperson, a legislative framework that mandates payment for links or content that they do not post, and which are not the primary reason users engage with their platforms, is neither sustainable nor feasible. The company assured that the changes to news access will not impact other services provided to Canadian users. Similarly, Google has described the bill as “unworkable” in its current form and expressed a desire to collaborate with the government to find a viable path forward.

The Canadian federal government argues that the online news bill is necessary to promote fairness in the digital news market and enable struggling news organizations to receive fair compensation for their news and shared links on these platforms. An analysis conducted by an independent parliamentary budget watchdog estimates that news businesses could potentially receive around C$329 million ($250 million; £196 million) annually from digital platforms.

Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez has criticized the tests conducted by tech platforms, labeling them as “unacceptable” and a “threat.” Facebook restored news content to its Australian users after negotiations with the government resulted in amendments. Rodriguez’s office confirmed meetings with both Google and Facebook this week, with plans for further discussions, but stated that the government will proceed with implementing the bill.

Media industry groups have welcomed the passage of the bill as a step towards achieving market fairness. Paul Deegan, the president and CEO of News Media Canada, a media industry group, highlighted the importance of real journalism created by journalists and its vital role in democracy, but also emphasized the significant costs involved. The Online News Act is expected to come into effect in Canada within six months.

Related Articles

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More