Online News Act: What Does Meta Say About it

In view of the “Online News Act,” or House of Commons bill C-18, introduced in April last year, Meta hinted suspension of news services for Canadians on its platforms if the act is passed in its current form.

“A legislative framework that compels us to pay for links or content that we do not post, and which are not the reason the vast majority of people use our platforms, is neither sustainable nor workable,” a Meta spokesperson said as a reason to suspend news access in the country.

The act would require digital platforms that make news content available on their platforms in Canada to negotiate with the providers to provide compensation for their news content. Bill C-18 would require compensation agreements with Canadian news organizations in“all markets.” This would include non-profit and for-profit sectors, local and regional markets all across Canada, anglophone and francophone communities, official language minority communities, racialized communities, and Indigenous news outlets.

In response to the intimation by the widely used social platforms, Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez expressed disappointment to see Facebook resorting to threats instead of working with the Canadian government in good faith, and the C-18 bill had nothing to do with how Facebook makes news available to Canadians. “All we’re asking Facebook to do is negotiate fair deals with news outlets when they profit from their work,” — said Rodriguez.

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