In recent news, the Canadian Government has passed the Online News Act, also known as C-18, aimed at curbing social media platforms’ ability to share and repurpose Canadian news content without compensating media outlets. The bill has received royal assent, signifying its formal approval.
According to the Government of Canada, the Online News Act aims to address the growing disparity between news organizations and major online media platforms, promoting fairness and sustainability within the country’s news industry. The bill encourages voluntary commercial agreements between social media giants like Google and Meta (formerly Facebook) and news organizations to preserve the independence of the press, with limited government interference.
However, the response from Google and Meta has been less enthusiastic. Meta has announced its intention to comply with the bill but not in the manner anticipated by Parliament. Instead of establishing paid agreements with news outlets, Meta plans to remove news availability on Facebook and Instagram for Canadian users. This decision is likely to disappoint Canadian social media users who rely on these platforms for accessing news content.
Lisa Laventure, head of communications for Meta in Canada, emphasized that complying with Bill C-18 would result in the unavailability of content from news outlets on their platforms. Meta’s move raises concerns about the impact on the accessibility and diversity of news sources for Canadian users.
While the bill will become law six months after receiving royal assent, Meta has stated its intention to remove local news from its platform even before the act takes effect. This decision raises questions about the potential consequences for Canadian users and the broader media landscape within the country.
Google, on the other hand, has not issued an official statement regarding the Online News Act. However, there have been indications that Google may consider removing news links from its search engine and search results, suggesting potential implications for accessing news content through their platform.
As the bill prepares to take effect, the ongoing debate surrounding the Online News Act and its implications for social media giants, news organizations, and Canadian users continues. The outcome of these developments will shape the dynamics between media outlets and online platforms, potentially setting a precedent for other countries grappling with similar challenges in the digital age.