West News Wire: After Canada’s federal government enacted the Online News Act, or Bill C-18, a bill requiring digital companies to pay content fees to domestic media sources, Meta stated it will stop allowing access to news on Facebook and Instagram in that nation.
The parent company of Facebook, Meta, issued a statement on Thursday saying: “We have repeatedly shared that in order to comply with Bill C-18, 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.”
A few weeks of product testing are currently being carried out by the company to “end news availability in Canada” in response to the decision made by Parliament, the company continued.
The decision follows a similar law passed last year in Australia, mandating that digital platforms such as Facebook and Google
pay domestic media outlets when linking to their content in search or feeds. In response, Meta took a similar path to its current approach in Canada, blocking users from seeing or sharing news content on Facebook. It also reportedly blocked some pages for hospitals and emergency services.
Within a week, Meta relented and came to a deal with the Australian government, via amendments to the law allowing tech companies two months to negotiate with media outlets.
Earlier this month, California lawmakers advanced a bipartisan bill that would require digital platforms to pay news outlets for the content they host, the first U.S. state to consider such a proposal. If the legislation is approved by the state Senate and passed into law, it would require online platforms with at least 50 million monthly active U.S. users, a billion worldwide active users or U.S. net annual sales or market cap over $550 billion to pay eligible media outlets for hosting their content.
Meta said it would remove news from Facebook and Instagram if the law passed in California, similar to its current strategy in Canada.
“While these product tests are temporary, we intend to end the availability of news content in Canada permanently following the passage of Bill C-18,” Meta wrote in the statement.