Meta has initiated the blocking of all news content on its platforms, Facebook and Instagram, in Canada. This change is expected to roll out to all Canadian users within the next few weeks. The decision comes in response to the country’s Online News Act, which compels tech companies like Meta and Google to negotiate with and compensate publishers for their news content.
The blocks extend not only to news publishers with accounts on the platforms but also to links shared by users. Consequently, if a Canadian user is friends with someone residing in Kansas and that person shares a link to an article on Facebook, the Canadian user will be unable to view it.
Journalists from local Canadian publications, IndigiNews and The Sarnia Journal, voiced their opposition to Meta’s decision on Twitter (that rebranded as X).
Meta refers to this move as a “business decision,” explaining that it is blocking news to comply with the Online News Act. The company refutes the Canadian government’s claim that it unfairly benefits from news content shared on its platforms, asserting that news organizations actually benefit from the exposure of their information on Facebook and Instagram, as users do not primarily come to these platforms for news.
The company had previously warned about taking this drastic step once the bill received royal assent in June, following a brief period of testing the change. Google also plans to follow suit by blocking local news, with the action set to take effect “no later than 180 days” after the June 22nd passage of the bill.