Meta has announced it will begin blocking news links on Facebook and Instagram for Canadian users in response to the passage of the Liberal government’s online news bill C-18.
“Today, we are confirming that news availability will be ended on Facebook and Instagram for all users in Canada prior to the Online News Act (Bill C-18) taking effect,” wrote the company in a statement Thursday.
“We have repeatedly shared that in order to comply with Bill C-18, passed today in Parliament, content from news outlets, including news publishers and broadcasters, will no longer be available to people accessing our platforms in Canada.”
Facebook has already limited the reach of some Canadian news sites including small local and Quebec-based outlets.
The bill was passed after the Liberals moved to cut off debate on Bill C-18, which critics blast for giving the government too much control over what kind of news Canadians see online.
The bill forces social media companies to pay news publishers for links to their content being available on the platform.
As University of Ottawa Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law Michael Geist wrote earlier this week, the Liberal government cut off debate from the Opposition to push through the bill.
“In fact, despite plans for an evening debate on the bill last night, the government interrupted MP Martin Champoux in mid-speech, cut the debate short, and gave notice that it plans to limit debate altogether this week,” said Geist.
“The irony that the government is cutting off debate on a bill it claims is essential to holding it to account should not be lost on anyone.”