Meta amps up threats to block news in Canada

Meta announced last week that it would begin a test that would block news content for some Canadians on its Facebook and Instagram platforms, in preparation for the potential passage of Bill C-18, the Online News Act by federal parliamentarians.

Paul Deegan, News Media Canada’s president and CEO, called Meta’s move a “kick in the shins” to Canadians at a time when the value and need for credible information has never been greater.

“Meta’s decision to ‘unfriend’ Canada by denying access to trusted sources of news for some of their users, as wildfires burn and when public safety is at stake is irresponsible and tone deaf,” Deegan told CBC News.

“This hard-nose lobbying tactic is more evidence of the power imbalance that exists between dominant platforms and publishers, which is why parliamentarians need to pass the Online News Act before their summer recess.”

Late last month, Facebook announced a similar plan in the event legislators in California pass a bill that would require tech giants to compensate news organizations for their work.

Earlier this year, Google rolled out tests that block access to news content for some Canadian users in the event C-18 becomes law.