Meta Tests Removal of Canadian News Content in Response to Proposed Online News Act

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is conducting live tests to see how it would look without Canadian news publishers in its apps as a response to Canada’s proposed Online News Act. The social media giant wants to ensure that it can effectively implement a ban on Canadian news publishers in the case of the bill being passed by the Canadian Parliament.

Implementation of the Ban

Meta plans to comply with the legislation, and it will begin product tests on both Facebook and Instagram that will limit some users and publishers from viewing or sharing news content in Canada.

„Product tests will impact news outlets both within and outside of Canada. Meta is identifying news outlets based on the current language of Bill C-18. As drafted, the legislation states that news outlets are in scope if they primarily report on, investigate, or explain current issues or events of public interest,“ said Meta.

Canadian publishers will continue to have access to their Facebook and Instagram pages, but their content will not be visible on either app, inside or outside of Canada, for the testing period.

Canada’s Online News Act

The proposed legislation follows a similar formula to Australia’s Media Bargaining Code; the act’s aim is to address market imbalance within the local ad industry. Meta and Google currently dominate the ad market, leading to local publishers losing out. This has resulted in less coverage and, therefore, a less informed public due to the reduction in diversity within the information sphere.

Some governments are seeking to address this imbalance by making Google and Meta pay for any news links that are shared in their apps. They argue that both companies benefit from the content. Meta has repeatedly argued that the publishers themselves benefit more from Facebook exposure than Facebook does from the engagement that content sees.

Meta’s Decision

Meta has been working to reduce the reach of political news content on its apps due to user backlash around angst and argument. Meta’s statistics reveal that user exposure to posts with external links has declined by 50% over the last two years. This stat, according to Meta, underlines their case that it does not need news content nor should it be forced to pay for it.

Canadian Parliament is still considering the proposal, but Meta is willing to implement a full local news content ban if the act is imposed. The ramifications of such a ban could be substantial, and it is interesting to see what Meta’s next steps will be.


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