Facebook, Instagram set to shut down news content in Canada after new Trudeau law comes into effect

As a result of the new law, the companies will have to negotiate distribution deals with media outlets in order for their content to be linked in the platforms’ news feeds.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced Thursday that it would follow through on plans to block Canadians from posting news on the platforms in Canada after Parliament passed a law earlier this year requiring the companies to pay media outlets to share their stories.

Meta said in a statement to The Washington Post, “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

The contentious legislation is known as the Online News Act and is part of an attempt by the Canadian government to regulate American tech giants and keep sinking news agencies afloat through a series of new laws. 

A law passed earlier this year required streaming platforms to promote Canadian content to users in the country as part of the effort to limit Big Tech.

Mainstream media outlets have supported the bill arguing that tech companies should share their revenue with the platforms because their advertising revenue was destroyed by social media and Google.

Canada’s Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said to a parliamentary committee in May, “Over 460 media — big and small, in regions and cities or whatever — have disappeared in the last 10 to 15 years. All of the money is migrating to those big players, and we’re trying to come back to a fairer system.”

According to The Hill, the new Canadian law follows the design of a 2021 Australian regulation. At the time, Meta made similar threats to restrict the platforms in the country but later yielded to the Australian government. California is considering passing a similar law.

As a result of the new law, the companies will have to negotiate distribution deals with media outlets in order for their content to be linked in the platforms’ news feeds. If negotiations fail, the tech companies can go to arbitration.

The tech companies will not be mandated to comply with the new regulations for six months.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the tech companies of using “bullying tactics,” adding, “The fact that these internet giants would rather cut off Canadians’ access to local news than pay their fair share is a real problem. It’s not going to work.”

On Tuesday, Jean Crider a spokeswoman for Google said the law was “unworkable.”

“Every step of the way, we’re proposed thoughtful and pragmatic solutions that would have improved the bill and cleared the path for us to increase our already significant investments in the Canadian news ecosystem. So far, none of our concerns have been addressed.”
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