Meta Starts Blocking News in Canada

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Meta Starts Blocking News in Canada

Meta has started the process of preventing access to news on its platforms in Canada.

The move is a response to the country’s new law that requires tech companies to pay compensation to news organizations for posting their content.

Meta blocking news access

Meta, the company behind Facebook and Instagram, has begun blocking all news articles on its platforms in Canada.

The change won’t take immediate effect but it shouldn’t take longer than a few weeks for it to roll out.

This comes after the country passed its Online News Act earlier in June. It introduced a new rule requiring platforms and search engines to strike deals with news publishers before posting their content.

By doing so, Canada joined numerous other governments who are trying to force social media platforms to compensate news outlets.

As soon as the country passed the bill, Meta hinted that it would look to restrict news access in response. It started by blocking news for up to 5% of Canadians on Facebook and Instagram.

The social media giant said that this change misrepresents the value news organizations receive when they decide to post content on its platforms.

Its stance is also that publishers benefit from posting content on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. It said that they voluntarily share their articles to get more exposure.

Meta also shared some data regarding how news outlets benefit from posting their content on its platforms.

It said that the traffic it generated for news outlets in a 12-month period ending in April 2022 is worth over CAD 230 million.

The government in Canada deemed the Meta’s move as “irresponsible,” and said it’ll observe how the entire thing plays out.

The company will look to avoid doing anything against the law, having recently faced hefty fines. Australia ordered Meta to pay $14 million for collecting user data through Onavo VPN.

The company also agreed to seek consent from users in Europe before capturing their data to avoid further fines.

Similar laws in other countries

Canada modeled its June news bill by the one Australia passed in 2021, becoming the first country to do so.

At the time, Meta temporarily blocked the option to share news links on its platforms in Australia. However, it eventually came to a deal with the government and lifted the ban.

Lawmakers in California said they’ve been considering a similar bill. However, last month they reported that the idea has been shelved for a year.

Meta has pushed back forcefully against this bill as well.