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Meta Limits News Access in Canada


Following the passage of a contentious internet news bill by parliament, Meta has announced that it will start limiting news on its platforms to Canadian consumers.

The legislation mandates that major platforms pay news publishers for the content that is posted on their websites.

Both Meta and Google have already conducted tests limiting some Canadians’ access to news.

Due to a similar regulation, Australian users were prohibited from posting or reading news on Facebook in 2021.

The Online News Act of Canada, which passed the senate on Thursday, establishes guidelines that mandate companies like Meta and Google to make business agreements and compensate news organizations for their material.

“Fundamentally flawed legislation that ignores the realities of how our platforms work,” is how Meta has described the law.

On Thursday, it announced that all Canadian users would no longer be able to access news on Facebook and Instagram until the bill becomes law.

According to a spokeswoman for Meta, “A legislative framework that requires us to pay for links or content that we do not post and that are not the primary reasons most users access our platforms is neither sustainable nor workable.”

According to the firm, Canadian users’ access to other services won’t be impacted by the changes to news.

Google deemed the legislation “unworkable” in its current form and stated that it was looking to collaborate with the government to find a “path forward”.

The online news law, according to the federal government, is essential “to enhance fairness in the Canadian digital news market” and to enable financially strained news organizations to “secure fair compensation” for news and links posted on the platforms.

According to an independent budget watchdog’s examination of the measure, news organizations might receive around C$329 million ($250 million; £196 million) year from digital platforms.

The tech platforms’ testing are “unacceptable” and a “threat,” Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez told Reuters earlier this month.

After discussions with the government resulted in changes, Facebook in Australia gave its users access to news content again.

The government will go through with the bill’s implementation, according to a statement from Mr. Rodriguez’s office on Thursday. He had meetings with Google and Facebook this week and planned additional conversations, the statement added.

He stated in a statement, “If the government can’t defend Canadians against tech titans, who will?”

The bill’s passing was lauded by media industry associations as a step towards market fairness.

“Real journalism, created by real journalists, continues to be demanded by Canadians and is vital to our democracy, but it costs real money,” said Paul Deegan, president and CEO of News Media Canada, a media industry group, in a statement.

In Canada, the Online News Act is anticipated to go into force in six months.

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