Canadians will No Longer have Access to News on FacebookWorld | August 2, 2023, Wednesday // 09:26| views
Meta will soon discontinue news access on its Facebook and Instagram platforms in Canada. By the next few weeks, all Canadian users will no longer have news content on these platforms. Previously, in June, a test was conducted that restricted news for a small segment of users. Now, the company has moved beyond testing.
“In order to provide clarity to the millions of Canadians and businesses who use our platforms, we are announcing today that we have begun the process of ending news availability permanently in Canada,” said Rachel Curran, head of public policy for Meta Canada. Curran previously served as a policy adviser for former prime minister Stephen Harper.
Consequently, Canadians won't be able to share or view news content, including that from international publishers. This restriction will also affect links to news articles, reels, and stories.
This change will be exclusive to Canada; international users will see no difference.
Paul Deegan, News Media Canada's president, criticized this action, claiming it will degrade user experience and the value of the Facebook platform. He stated, “With no real, journalist-created news, Facebook's appeal for users and advertisers will drop.” He expects a pull-out from advertisers due to this drastic move.
In retaliation, some businesses and the federal government have ceased advertising with Meta.
Meta's decision is shaped by the definition of news content in the recently passed Online News Act by the Liberal government. They assert this move is a counteraction to the Act, which mandates tech companies to compensate Canadian news publishers for content usage.
“For many months, we have been transparent about our concerns with the Online News Act. It is based on the incorrect premise that Meta benefits unfairly from news content shared on our platforms, when the reverse is actually true,” Curran elaborated.
She added, “News outlets voluntarily share content on Facebook and Instagram to expand their audiences and help their bottom line. In contrast, we know the people using our platforms don’t come to us for news”
However, Ottawa believes the Act creates a balance between the booming online ad giants and the diminishing news sector. Since 2008, Canada has seen numerous media entities shut down, with a significant number of journalists rendered jobless, even as giants like Google and Meta earn massively from ads.
Canadian Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge hasn’t offered any comments yet.
Curran hopes that, moving forward, the Canadian government will acknowledge the value Meta provides to the news sector. She expressed the need for policies that support a free, open internet and promote diversity, innovation, and the broader interests of the Canadian media scene.
The Online News Act will be operational by year-end. However, Meta has expressed no interest in participating in the regulation formulation process.
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