Facebook Canada says it will not pursue Australia-style agreement with news publishers

Kevin Chan, Facebook Canada’s head of public policy, told a parliamentary committee that applying Australia’s model to pay Canadian news publishers for content linked on its site was unworkable.

Facebook would not rule out banning Canadians from sharing news on its platform. The company prevented users in Australia from sharing news articles on Facebook in February, after the country passed new legislation requiring web giants like Facebook and Google to compensate publishers for those links.

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault is looking to enact laws that would ensure media companies are paid by digital platforms. The rules are expected to be similar to those in Australia.

John Hinds, president of News Media Canada, a lobbying group, said during an interview with the Star that Facebook was trying to “put other stuff in the window” to try to distract from what’s really needed.

“It speaks … to the need for legislation,” he said. “We want to talk about — and this is what the Australians, and now the U.S., and the French are talking about — is licensing for the use of the content.

“They seem to want to avoid that discussion.”

You can read more about some of the testy exchanges at the committee meeting here and here.