Meta says it will remove news articles from Facebook and Instagram Feeds of its Canadian users.
The move follows the introduction of the Online News Act in the country, which requires tech companies like Google and Meta to pay news outlets for the stories they feature in their social feeds. The Canadian law went into effect on June 22 and requires big tech companies to negotiate commercial deals with news publishers for their news and audio-visual content.
“The law is based on a fundamentally flawed premise,” says Andy Stone, a spokesperson for Meta. “And regrettably, the only way we can reasonably comply is to end news availability in Canada.” Meta says news articles on its platform make up less than 3% of what Canadians consume. Google is also removing links to Canadian news sites from search results in Canada, with Kent Walker, Google’s President of Global Affairs, calling it “the wrong approach to supporting journalism in Canada.”
The act was designed to help Canada’s journalism industry, which has seen the closure of 450 news outlets from between 2008 and 2021. Meta may also be grappling with a similar law passed by California soon. The California Journalism Preservation Act would require a similar collection of payment. That bill passed through the state assembly in June 2023 and is now awaiting a Senate hearing. If the law passes the Senate, Meta has said it will block news access on the platform in California as well.
Both of these laws are modeled after an Australian law that passed in 2021. The law requires tech companies to negotiate a fee for content or enter arbitration if a deal cannot be reached. The Australian government believes the law has worked in favor of its journalists since it was passed more than two years ago as tech firms have struck at least 30 deals with news outlets in the country. Both Meta and Google were vocal opponents to the Australian news law as well.