Canadian Publishers Want Meta’s News Blocking Investigated

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Canadian Publishers Want Meta’s News Blocking Investigated

News outlets and broadcasters across Canada have asked the Competition Bureau to launch an investigation into Meta’s news blocking.

The move marks the next big step in the federal government’s clash with tech companies over content and revenue sharing.

Application to the Competition Bureau

Several Canadian news publishers and broadcasters warned earlier that Meta’s decision violates federal laws. Today, they submitted an application to the country’s Competition Bureau to investigate the situation.

The group consisting of News Media Canada, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, and CBC/Radio-Canada said the company is abusing its dominant position

With platforms like Facebook and Instagram, Meta makes up over 70% of the country’s online social media market. This gives the company huge control over it.

Together, the news companies released a statement saying that Meta plans to “discipline” news providers across the country.

Their stance is that the decision to block news will severely impact news companies’ ability to reach Canadians on social media and advertise themselves.

The publishers and broadcasters want the Competition Bureau to rely on prosecutorial tools to prevent Meta from achieving its goal.

While the social media giant started blocking news last week, it’s now set to prevent all Canadians from accessing this type of content.

It said this is the only way the company can comply with the new legislation. A spokesperson for Meta added that users can still access any news article they want by visiting publishers’ websites directly.

At the time of writing, there are 31 million Facebook and 19 million Instagram users in Canada.

The background

Meta first decided to restrict news posts after the country passed its Online News Act. According to the new rules, technology companies have to compensate publishers for having their content on their platforms.

Both Meta and Google were unhappy with the decision, but the company behind Facebook and Instagram took action first.

It started by blocking news for about 5% of Canadians on its platforms. However, after restricting more users last week, Meta now plans to block this type of content for everyone.

The company said the Online News Act misrepresents how valuable it is for companies to have their articles on social media.

It also shared information that it had helped generate over CAD 230 million for news outlets in 12 months.
Google announced it would no longer show news links in its search results, but has not yet applied any changes.