Facebook threatens to block news sites in Canada, as it did in Australia

After caving in to authorities in Australia just a few months ago, Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, is threatening to block news sharing on its platform in Canada. Canadian authorities have proposed a new law, called C-18, that would force online social media platforms to negotiate contracts with news publications whose articles are published in their feeds.

Canada wants to force tech giants to pay for access to news site content

While it has caved in other regions (after winning concessions), Meta doesn’t seem to think this should be the rule worldwide. Thus, the company is entering into the same “dance” it performed in Australia, threatening to block, then temporarily blocking, then reaching agreements with authorities and news companies to basically pay for content provided by these entities.

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Meta representatives in Canada are particularly upset this time because they were not invited to speak at the meeting to debate this law. Google, however, was one of the companies that did attend. However, it seems that Canadian authorities are still angry with Meta after Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg ignored invitations from the parliamentary ethics committee in 2019. Meta suggests that this law is clearly directed at its business.

“We have always approached our dealings with the Canadian public authorities in relation to this legislation with honesty and fair debate, so we were surprised not to receive an invitation to participate, particularly following public comments from members of the legislature that this law is targeted at Facebook”, Meta posted on the official blog.

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The company says that in the spirit of transparency, it wants to warn right now that “there is a possibility that we may be forced to consider whether to continue to allow the sharing of news-type content in Canada.”

But Canadian politicians say they just want fair deals between social media and news publications:

“All we’re asking tech giants like Facebook to do is negotiate fair deals with the news publications they profit from.”said Pablo Rodriguez, Heritage Minister in the Government of Canada.

But Meta says news is a very small source of revenue compared to other ways it monetises its online platform.

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