- Canada’s Senate has passed a bill requiring tech giants Google and Meta to pay media outlets for news content shared on their platforms, aiming to level the playing field between online advertising giants and the news industry.
- Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has confirmed that it will no longer make news available on its platforms for Canadian users in compliance with the bill.
- Google is also taking steps to address the bill’s requirements, including removing news links from its search engine. Details of the agreements with news publishers are yet to be disclosed.
Canada will soon require tech giants Google and Meta to pay media outlets for news content shared or repurposed on their platforms.
The bill, which is set to become law, was passed by Canada’s Senate on Thursday amid a dispute between Silicon Valley and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government.
The bill is a response to what Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez calls “threats” from Facebook and Google to remove journalism from their platforms. Ottawa sees the law as a way to level the playing field between online advertising giants and the shrinking news industry.
In compliance with the bill, Meta has confirmed that it will no longer make news available on Facebook and Instagram for its Canadian users. Lisa Laventure, the head of communications for Meta in Canada, stated,
- “We have repeatedly shared that in order to comply with Bill C-18, which was passed today in Parliament, content from news outlets, including news publishers and broadcasters, will no longer be available to people accessing our platforms in Canada.”
Google is also taking steps to address the bill’s requirements. Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez is scheduled to meet with Google, and the tech platform is planning to remove news links from its search engine, although no further details have been disclosed. Both Meta and Google have conducted tests blocking news for a portion of their Canadian users.
The Online News Act mandates that both companies enter into agreements with news publishers to pay for news content that appears on their sites and contributes to the tech giants’ revenue generation.
However, the tech giants are not immediately bound by the act once Bill C-18 passes. All details will be made public before any tech giant is designated under the act, according to spokesperson Laura Scaffidi.
What brought about the Bill?
The bill arrives on the heels of previous conversations bothering on “enhancing fairness” in the digital news marketplace and helping bring in more money for shrinking newsrooms. Especially as Meta and Google have been accused of disrupting and dominating the advertising industry.
In retrospect, when Australia passed legislation that drove publishers to ask for pay from tech companies using their news stories, Meta temporarily blocked news from its platform in the country. The Canadian Senate bill will come into force six months after it receives royal assent.
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