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Meta threatens to end Canadian news content on its platform

The federal government’s proposed law forcing internet giants to negotiate commercial agreements with Canadian media disturbs Meta, the parent company of Facebook, which threatens to end the sharing of Canadian news content on its platform.

We believe the Online News Act distorts the relationship between platforms and news publishers, and we call on the government to review its approach to help create a more equitable and sustainable news industry,” wrote in an article by Marc Dinsdale, head of media partnerships at Meta Canada, last Friday. (Source: The Press)

Passage of the Online News Act (Bill C-18) could block news sharing on the platform in Canada, he said, adding that he regretted the company had not been invited to raise their concerns with the government.

Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez was unimpressed by these threats. On Monday, he accused Facebook and other internet giants of trying to intimidate the federal government and, by extension, Canadians.

“And it doesn’t work,” he said in an interview on Radio-Canada’s Midi Info program hosted by Alec Castonguay. (Source: The Press)

He recalled that under his bill, the web giants, which occupy a dominant position, must negotiate fair agreements with the news media.

Right now, people are sharing journalistic work on Facebook, on Google, without getting a penny. […] The platforms take advantage of the presence of this journalistic content to attract people, get traffic, without having to pay a penny. And this traffic allows them to earn money and sell more expensive advertisements, believes Pablo Rodriguez. (Source: The Press)

Online News Act (Bill C-18)

Today, many Canadians access news content through digital intermediaries. Bill C-18 would enact the Online News Act (the Act), which proposes a regime to regulate digital platforms that act as intermediaries in the Canadian news media ecosystem to improve fairness in the Canadian digital news market. The bill introduces a new framework for negotiation intended to help news companies obtain fair compensation when their news content is made available by dominant digital news intermediaries and generates economic gain. It aims to support balanced negotiations between the companies that operate dominant digital news intermediaries and the companies responsible for the news outlets that produce that news content. If a party initiates it, a final offer arbitration process would be used as a last resort to deal with scenarios in which negotiated agreements are not reached. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission would support and oversee the administration of the regime. (Source: (Bill C-18))