Meta’s decision to end news availability in Canada in the coming weeks shows the company’s tangible disregard for democracy and its willingness to allow misinformation to thrive instead of paying its fair share to legitimate news businesses under the Online News Act.
“It is deeply troubling that Meta will deliberately hinder news availability in our country instead of offering workable solutions to help make the new legislation work,” says CAB President Kevin Desjardins. “The bottom line is that Meta would rather continue to pocket the billions in revenues it takes out of the Canadian economy while fundamentally eroding Canadians’ news access and raising the profile of misinformation on its platforms. This is a lose-lose proposition for all Canadians.”
“With foreign digital platforms now taking more than 70 per cent of advertising revenues out of Canada, our news and media businesses are deeply challenged to continue to provide Canadians with the level of journalism they deserve,” continues Desjardins. In June, the CAB stated that this would be an issue for the Competition Bureau to scrutinize closely if Meta moved to permanently block news in Canada.
The CAB welcomed the passage of Bill C-18, the Online News Act, which will ensure that Canadian news businesses have a fair negotiating regime to bargain with much larger digital entities that have been profiting from the use of Canadians’ online news activities (reading, sharing, navigating) to further build their market dominance in advertising, search and social media.