The World Forum - June 16th, 2024

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Meta Begins Removing Canadians’ Access To All News On Facebook, Instagram


Canadians’ access to news on Facebook and Instagram will be cut off in the coming weeks after Meta said Tuesday that a “fundamentally flawed” law is forcing the company to make the tough decision. 

Canada’s Online News Act, passed by its leftist legislature earlier this summer, requires Big Tech companies to negotiate agreements with Canadian news outlets and pay them for news content shared on social media platforms, Reuters reported. Meta spokesman Andy Stone slammed the law in a tweet on Tuesday and said ending access to news on its platforms was the only option. 

Both Meta and Google said in June that they would fight the law by blocking access to news in Canada. The country’s move is part of a global trend to force Big Tech companies to pay for news shared on their platforms, according to Reuters. Australia passed a similar law in 2021, while France and Spain also have social media news laws on the books.

The trend is making its way to the U.S. as well, as lawmakers in California have advanced a bill with bipartisan support mirroring Canada’s Online News Act. Meta has also threatened to block news in California if the bill, dubbed the “Journalism Preservation Act,” passes the state Senate and gets signed into law by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.  

In Canada, Meta argued that news articles made up less than 3% of the content in users’ feeds and said news lacks economic value, but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shot back, saying that Meta’s argument was “not just flawed, but dangerous to our democracy, to our economy.” Trudeau also accused the social media giant of being “deeply irresponsible and out of touch.” 

Google said that Canada’s law is even broader than those passed in Australia and Europe, as it also can apply to outlets that do not produce news. In June, the tech company said it “informed the Government that we have made the difficult decision that when the law takes effect we will be removing links to Canadian news from our Search, News, and Discover products and will no longer be able to operate Google News Showcase in Canada.”