Facebook threatens to block news content in Canada over proposed revenue-sharing bill
Facebook warned on Friday that it may block the sharing of news content on its platform in Canada due to concerns over legislation that would force digital platforms to pay news publishers.
The Online News Act, introduced in April, set rules to force platforms like Meta’s Facebook and Alphabet’s Google to broker commercial deals and pay news publishers for their content, in a move similar to groundbreaking legislation passed in Australia last year.
The legislation is being reviewed by a parliamentary committee, to which the US social media company said it was not asked to share its concerns.
“We believe the Online News Act distorts the relationship between platforms and news publishers, and we call on the government to review its approach,” said Marc Dinsdale, head of media partnerships at Meta Canada, in a blog post.
« Faced with adverse legislation based on false assumptions that challenge the logic of how Facebook operates, we believe it’s important to be transparent about the possibility that we may be forced to reconsider allowing Facebook content to be shared. news in Canada, » Dinsdale wrote.
Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, who introduced the bill, said in a statement Friday that the government continues to have « constructive conversations » with Facebook.
« All we ask of tech giants like Facebook is to negotiate fair deals with the media when they profit from their work, » Rodriguez said in an emailed statement.
The legislation proposes that digital platforms that have a « bargaining imbalance » with news companies – measured by metrics such as a company’s worldwide turnover – must enter into fair deals which would then be assessed by a regulator.
Dinsdale said news content does not appeal to Facebook users and does not bring significant revenue to the company.
When Australia, which has led global efforts to limit the powers of tech companies, proposed legislation requiring them to pay local media for news content, Google threatened to shut down its Australian search engine, while that Facebook has cut off all third-party content from Australian accounts for over a week.
The two eventually struck deals with Australian media companies after a series of legislative amendments were proposed.