Meta Says it Doesn’t Need News Content, as Canada Pushes for New Publisher Revenue Share Regulations


In Canada, there is a new proposal that would require Meta (formerly known as Facebook) and Google to pay local news publishers for the use of their content on their sites and apps, but Meta is claiming that it doesn’t need news publisher content as much as it is being projected. In fact, Meta recently released a report which shows that news content from traditional publishers is of low value to the company and is declining. This article will delve into the report and explore Meta’s position, as well as the potential impact of the proposed regulations on Canadian news publishers.

The Report

The report, which was commissioned by Meta and conducted by NERA Economic Consulting, found that news publishers receive considerable economic benefits from their use of Facebook, with 90% of organic views for news publishers coming from links that the publishers themselves post, not from Facebook users. The report also found that interest in news content in Meta’s apps has declined significantly, with many Facebook users saying that there are too many news-related posts in the app. This is in line with the broader trend of users preferring non-news content on social media platforms.

Meta’s Position

As a result of the findings in the report, Meta is arguing that it should not have to pay for news content in Canada or anywhere else, as it is not of the value that publishers project. Meta sees itself being forced to provide monetary compensation to publishers based on allegations of market power or disproportionate bargaining power, which is not justified by the available evidence. Meta has also stated that it can and will ban Canadian news outlets if it comes down to it, as the impact on its business will be minimal.

The Australian Precedent

This is not the first time that Meta has used this argument. Back in 2021, the Australian government tried to implement a similar revenue-sharing code to benefit local publishers, but Meta stated that it would force Facebook to pay news organizations for content that the publishers voluntarily place on its platforms, and at a price that ignores the financial value that Facebook brings publishers. Meta then banned Australian news outlets entirely from its apps, forcing a rapid re-negotiation that eventually saw an amended version of the News Bargaining Code go through, which was more in line with Meta’s thinking. However, the Australian Government has since touted the success of the code, claiming that over 30 commercial agreements have been established between Google, Meta, and Australian news businesses, which has seen over $AU200 million being redistributed to local media providers.

The Potential Impact on Canadian News Publishers

With Canadian news organizations calling on officials to do more to help them out, Canada is considering a similar code to the one implemented in Australia. However, Meta has made it clear that it sees no reason to pay for something that it doesn’t need and is unlikely to budge on Canadian news negotiations. This could result in Canadian news publishers being blocked, like Australia’s media outlets were two years ago. While publishers may see Meta’s tactics as a bluff, Meta’s various moves within its broader cost-cutting efforts suggest that now may not be the right time to test it.

The Shift Away from News Content

It’s interesting to note the broader shift away from news content in terms of usage and engagement trends across Facebook’s network. The proportion of adults using Facebook for news has fallen by about a third between 2016-2022 from 45% to 30%. Only 13% of US adults prefer to use social media for news, with 33% preferring television, 23% news websites or apps, 7% radio, and 5% print. Users are increasingly interested in creator-driven content, especially video, which is why Meta has scaled back its various news initiatives, including Instant Articles and its Bulletin newsletter program.


In conclusion, Meta is standing firm on its position that it should not have to pay for news content, as it is not of the value that publishers project. While Canadian news publishers may continue to push for the implementation of the new code, Meta’s various cost-cutting efforts suggest that now may not be the right time to test it. It’s also interesting to note the broader shift away from news content, which could have wider implications for engagement trends across Facebook’s network.