On Saturday, Facebook parent company Meta said that if Canada’s online news act becomes law, it will end news access on its platforms in the country.
The “Online News Act,” or House of Commons bill C-18, was presented in April to oblige platforms like Meta and Google to make commercial partnerships and compensate news publishers for their material.
“A legislative framework that compels us to pay for links or content that we do not post, and which are not the reason the vast majority of people use our platforms, is neither sustainable nor workable,” a Meta spokesperson said as a reason to suspend news access in the country.
The Canadian news media industry has petitioned the government for tighter regulation of digital corporations in order to recoup financial losses sustained over the years as tech goliaths like Google and Meta progressively acquire market dominance in advertising.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez expressed disappointment that Facebook had threatened to block news access in Canada rather than collaborate with them.
“All we’re asking Facebook to do is negotiate fair deals with news outlets when they profit from their work,” Rodriguez said. “This is part of a disappointing trend this week that tech giants would rather pull news than pay their fair share.”
Facebook made it clear last year about the threat of blocking access to the news if the acts become law.