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Meta is so unwilling to pay for news under a new Canadian law that it’s starting to block it on Facebook and Instagram in that country



Meta Platforms started its process of ending news availability in Canada over a law requiring digital platforms to pay local news outlets. 

The California-based company has followed through with its threat to block news on Facebook and Instagram. The move came after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government passed the Online News Act, expected to come into effect before the end of this year.

“For many months, we have been transparent about our concerns,” said Rachel Curran, Meta Canada’s head of public policy, in a statement Tuesday. “It is based on the incorrect premise that Meta benefits unfairly from news content shared on our platforms, when the reverse is actually true.”

The rollout of the news ban on Facebook and Instagram for users in Canada will take place over the next few weeks. Here’s how the ending of news availability affects Canada: 

  • For Canadian news publishers and broadcasters, their news links and content posted on the platforms will no longer be viewable by people in Canada
  • For international news outlets, they will continue to be able to post news links and contents, but that content won’t be viewable by people in Canada
  • For users in Canada, they will no longer be able to view or share news content on Facebook and Instagram, including articles and audio-visual content from news outlets

There are no changes for Meta’s services for people accessing the platforms from outside of Canada, the company said, adding that Canadian residents can access news online by going directly to news websites, using mobile news applications, and subscribing to preferred publishers.

“In the future, we hope the Canadian government will recognize the value we already provide the news industry and consider a policy response that upholds the principles of a free and open internet, champions diversity and innovation and reflects the interests of the entire Canadian media landscape,” Meta’s Curran said.

In July, the Canadian government, the Quebec government and major businesses, including media firm Quebecor Inc., said they’re suspending all advertising on the platforms to retaliate Meta’s plan to block news in Canada.

“We expect more and more Canadian governments and corporate advertisers will respond in kind to this unilateral intemperate move to ‘unfriend’ Canada,” Paul Deegan, chief executive officer of News Media Canada, said in a statement.

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