Meta is following through with its promise to end all availability of news on its platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, following the Trudeau government’s passing of the Online News Act.
According to the Canadian Press, after running some tests to limit news for a small percentage of users, the California-based tech company says it’s now ready to implement the ban on a mass scale.
“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, who serves as head of public policy for Meta Canada.
Canadians will no longer be able to view or share news articles and content posted by publishers and broadcasters from within Canada or internationally. All news links to articles, photographs, reels and short videos are expected to begin disappearing from the platforms.
Those residing outside of Canada however will not be affected by the ban.
Several media outlets and even the federal government have already ended their advertising with Meta in response to the decision.
Meta said the move to block news is merely a consequence of the government’s Online News Act, a bill that passed earlier this year that would require Meta and other tech companies to compensate Canadian news outlets for sharing content on their platforms.
“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,” said Curran. “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.”
The Trudeau government claims that the new bill will create a more level playing field between the financially declining news industry and online advertisers.
The government claims that since 2008, almost 500 media outlets have closed across the country. Despite large subsidies from the government, legacy media outlets have let go 20,000 journalists in recent years.
“In the future, we hope the Canadian government will recognize the value we already provide the news industry and consider a policy response that upholds the principles of a free and open internet, champions diversity and innovation, and reflects the interests of the entire Canadian media landscape,”said Curran.
The Liberal government continues to develop regulations regarding the Online News Act, which will come into effect by the end of 2023; however, Meta will no longer be subjected to the new requirements.