Facebook warned on Friday that if Canada approves the law forcing internet platforms to pay news publishers for linking to news articles, it may block news-sharing in the country.
The Online News Act, or Bill C-18, was presented in April, and the government has begun examining additional laws to support news producers in the country. The legislation mandates that digital platforms such as Google and Meta Facebook make commercial agreements and split money with news organizations.
Meta is visibly upset and suggests that the bill be reviewed. Marc Dinsdale, Meta Canada’s Director of media partnerships, stated in a blog post:
“We believe the Online News Act misrepresents the relationship between platforms and news publishers, and we call on the government to review its approach,”
“In the face of adverse legislation based on false assumptions that defy the logic of how Facebook operates, we believe it’s important to be transparent about the possibility that we may be forced to reconsider allowing news content sharing in Canada,”
Meta has also stated that they are likely to block news content sharing in Canada because it only generates a small profit:
“We have repeatedly shared with the government that news content is not a draw for our users and is not a significant source of revenue for our company,” Dinsdale added.
The bill’s proponent, Canada’s Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, announced in a statement on Friday that they are currently in talks with Facebook:
“All we’re asking the tech giants like Facebook to do is negotiate fair deals with news outlets when they profit from their work,”
A similar instance occurred in Australia previously, but it only lasted a week when Google threatened to close its Australian search engine and Facebook removed all third-party content from Australian accounts.
In a statement last week Google said that:
“Unlike the Australian code, C-18 defines Eligible News Businesses extremely broadly, and does not require a publisher to adhere to basic journalistic standards. This will lead to the proliferation of misinformation and clickbait,”