As announced by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook in Canada began blocking news feeds so that users cannot access them. This social network will be joined by Instagram in a few days, also belonging to Meta, where news-related content will also be inaccessible.
The decision taken by Meta is due to a law passed by the Canadian Parliament, which obliges platforms to pay a fee to the media for the dissemination of their content. The law in question is called the Online News Act and was passed last June.
What does the Online News Act passed in Canada involve?
The law that generated Meta’s measure aims to ensure a fair distribution of revenues between digital platforms and media outlets. To achieve this, the law states that such platforms must pay Canadian media outlets for publishing news on their sites. These publications are considered to generate traffic and the digital platforms make a profit from them, so they must pay the media for their content.
Meta is strictly opposed to the new law, as it claims that media outlets also benefit from having their content on platforms such as Facebook or Instagram.
This is not the first time that Meta has been involved in a controversy of this type. This dispute has already been seen in countries such as Australia, where a similar law was passed, with the same response from Meta. In that case, the blocking of news on Facebook lasted for a week, as the platform negotiated with the government of that country to reach an agreement.7
However, the decision taken by Mark Zuckerberg’s company has also had a response. The media conglomerate Quebecor, one of the largest in Canada reported in July that they will no longer buy advertising space on Facebook and also on Instagram.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also became involved in the controversy and described Meta’s decision as a serious mistake and the company as irresponsible.
What will be the future of Facebook in Canada in terms of news?
There are very firm positions on both sides, so a possible solution is not yet in sight. The truth is that the Canadian media are already warning about the consequences of Meta’s blockade. Christopher Curtis, co-founder of The Rover newsletter posted on Twitter that livelihoods are at stake and that the fight with Meta is making it increasingly difficult. Facebook’ s decision in Canada is causing the media to have few views on their websites, a situation that is bound to get worse, especially when Instagram joins the blockade.
For the time being, there is no solution in sight, at least in the short term. While both Meta and the Canadian government have been open to the agreements, there have been no developments.