As Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has joined the ranks of Google in blocking news for Canadians on their platforms in response to Bill C-18, the power imbalance in the Canadian news marketplace is clearer than ever.

At a time when foreign digital platforms have cornered the markets in search and advertising, Canadian news organizations need the Online News Act to ensure they have a fair opportunity to be compensated for the use of their content.

“Meta states that this news blocking is a ‘test,’ but this is not a technical check. It is a test of Canadians’ resolve,” says CAB President Kevin Desjardins. “Blocking Canadians from accessing news through their platforms demonstrates their disdain for democracy and their contempt for Canadian journalists.”

“At a moment when Meta’s platforms are key vectors for spreading misinformation, removing access to news and legitimate journalism will only help to further boost this damaging content and remove vital reporting of emergencies,” continues Desjardins.

According to a Nanos Research poll conducted last fall, 91 per cent of Canadians surveyed believe that Meta does not have Canadians’ best interests in mind. Meta’s current actions seem to validate those assumptions.

The CAB urges Parliamentarians not to bow to the threats of foreign digital giants and to pass Bill C-18. The Online News Act is a well-constructed piece of legislation that would recognize Canadian news organizations’ unique contributions to the public good and the profit that has for too long been extracted from them by dominant digital platforms.