Meta, Canada remain at odds after Canadian attempts to clarify new law

Despite an attempt by the Canadian government to clarify a new law in the country that will require dominant tech companies to pay news outlets to use their content, Meta said Friday that it is not backing down from blocking news content in Canada.

“As the legislation is based on the incorrect assertion that Meta benefits unfairly from the news content shared on our platforms, today’s proposed regulations will not impact our business decision to end news availability in Canada,” Rachel Curran, head of public policy for Meta in Canada, told Bloomberg in an email Friday.

The law isn’t set to take effect until January 2024, but in response to it having been passed, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, began blocking news content for users on its platforms in Canada last month.

Advocates in favor of the law said platforms like Facebook have used news articles to garner their own ad revenue and that the media outlets making the content weren’t being adequately compensated. The Online News Act was modeled after a law passed in Australia in 2021, and California is considering a similar measure. 

“The fact that these internet giants would rather cut off Canadians’ access to local news than pay their fair share is a real problem,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in June. “It’s not going to work.”

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