No more news on Facebook or Instagram for Canadians says Meta

  • Canada has passed the Online News Act, requiring platform operators like Meta to reimburse newsrooms for using their content on their platforms.
  • Meta, chose to pull news content from the Canadian market rather than share its revenue with publishers.
  • Facebook and Instagram users in Canada will no longer be able to view or share news content on those platforms as of this week.

With Canada signing a new law into place, Canadians will need to head directly to news websites rather than Meta websites to keep up with the latest headlines.

This is because Canada recently passed the Online News Act into law. This law looks to have platform operators reimburse newsrooms for running content on their platforms. The logic here is that news outlets bring a large amount of traffic to the likes of Facebook but don’t get a share of the advertising Meta derives from those ads.

Meta, alongside Google, are advertising behemoths. Both firms rely heavily on advertising to make their money and as such, have for years priced smaller advertising platforms out of the market because they simply can’t compete. Meta relies so much on advertising that a drop in demand saw its revenue decline one percent in 2022.

Sharing that revenue with publishers then, isn’t and never was an option for Meta. So, rather than make concessions, Meta has seemingly determined that pulling news from the Canadian market will cost it less than sharing its revenue.

“In order to comply with the Online News Act, we have begun the process of ending news availability in Canada. These changes start today, and will be implemented for all people accessing Facebook and Instagram in Canada over the course of the next few weeks,” said Meta.

The firm once again tried to frame this as lawmakers and publishers being unreasonable in asking for compensation for the traffic they bring to the likes of Facebook.

“We have been transparent and have made it clear to the Canadian government that the legislation misrepresents the value news outlets receive when choosing to use our platforms. The legislation is based on the incorrect premise that Meta benefits unfairly from news content shared on our platforms, when the reverse is true. News outlets voluntarily share content on Facebook and Instagram to expand their audiences and help their bottom line. In contrast, we know the people using our platforms don’t come to us for news,” the social media firm said.

As of Monday, Facebook and Instagram users in Canada won’t be able to view or share content – include articles and audio visual content – on those platforms. Worse still, news content posted by publishers outside of Canada on those platforms won’t have that content seen by users in the Great White North.

We are incredibly curious to see how this move affects Meta in Canada. While folks may not go to Facebook and Instagram for news, we suspect that citizens won’t be pleased when they discover that they can’t share articles on the platform anymore.

This direction doesn’t seem to be changing and with both government and Meta at loggerheads, citizens are going to have to go elsewhere to get their news. We’d have said that was Twitter a few months back but given the state of that platform, perhaps just head directly to news websites.

Australia tried to implement a similar law in 2021 but it eventually changed the legislation after Meta showcased what life without access to news on its platform would be like.

[Image – ElasticComputeFarm from Pixabay]


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