Meta to end news access for Canadians if Online News Act becomes law

March 13, 2023 8:27 am

The logo of Meta Platforms' business group is seen in Brussels, Belgium December 6, 2022. [Source: Reuters]

Facebook-parent Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) said that it would end the availability of news content for Canadians on its platforms if the country’s Online News Act passes in its current form.

The “Online News Act,” or House of Commons bill C-18, introduced in April last year laid out rules to force platforms like Meta and Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google to negotiate commercial deals and pay news publishers for their content.

Meta’s move comes after Google last month started testing limited news censorship as a potential response to the bill.

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Canada’s news media industry has asked the government for more regulation of tech companies to allow the industry to recoup financial losses it has suffered in the years as tech giants like Google and Meta steadily gain greater market share of advertising.

In a statement on Sunday, Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said it was disappointing to see Facebook resorting to threats instead of working with the Canadian government in good faith, and the C-18 bill had nothing to do with how Facebook makes news available to Canadians.

Facebook last year raised concerns about the legislation and warned it might be forced to block news-sharing on its platform.