According to the social media giant firm on Tuesday, Meta has started the process that will result in all users in Canada losing access to news on Facebook and Instagram.
This action is being taken as a direct reaction to recent legislation in the country that mandates internet corporations pay news publishers.
Pascale St-Onge, who is in charge of the government’s contacts with Meta, has criticized the action as irresponsible. St-Onge is the heritage minister for Canada.
“[Meta] would rather block their users from accessing good quality and local news than pay their fair share to news organizations,” St-Onge said in a statement on Tuesday. “[Meta] would rather block their users from accessing good quality and local news.” We are not going to budge from where we are standing. After all, if the government cannot defend Canadians’ rights against multinational corporations, who else will?”
If the Canadian parliament implemented the Online News Act, it would require platforms such as the parent company of Google, Alphabet, and Meta, to enter into financial agreements with Canadian news publishers in exchange for their material.
The measure exemplifies a more significant worldwide trend in which governments attempt to force technology companies to pay for news content. The Canadian legislation is comparable to a ground-breaking measure that Australia enacted in 2021, which prompted warnings from Google and Facebook that they would scale back their service offerings as a result of the law. Following the presentation of proposed revisions to the legislation, both businesses eventually reached agreements with Australian media organizations.
In the United States, the state of California has entertained the idea of passing a law very much like it. In that particular scenario, Meta has also vowed to stop providing services in the state in the event that the legislation is passed.
Google has argued that the Canadian law is broader than those adopted in Australia and Europe because it places a price on news story links displayed in search results and can apply to outlets that do not create news. The argument is based on the fact that the Canadian law puts a price on news story links displayed in search results.
Meta had stated that links to news stories made up less than three per cent of the content on its users’ feeds and contended that news lacked commercial value.
In May, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, stated that such an argument was fallacious and “dangerous to our democracy and to our economy.”