Canada to keep pressure on Facebook to pay for news: PM Justin Trudeau

Ottawa will keep pushing Meta to comply with a new law requiring large internet companies to pay Canadian news publishers for their content, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday

December 16, 2023 10:30 am | Updated 10:30 am IST - OTTAWA

Meta started blocking news sharing on Facebook and Instagram in August, saying news holds no economic value for its businesses [File]

Meta started blocking news sharing on Facebook and Instagram in August, saying news holds no economic value for its businesses [File] | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Ottawa will keep pushing Meta to comply with a new law requiring large internet companies to pay Canadian news publishers for their content, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday, but the Facebook parent stood by its decision to block news sharing rather than pay.

The government on Friday published final regulations for the Online News Act before enforcement starts December 19. The law requires technology companies with 20 million unique monthly users and annual revenues of C$1 billion ($748 million) or more to compensate Canadian news outlets for publishing links to their pages.

Alphabet's Google and Meta are the only platforms that fall under those criteria in Canada. Google agreed last month to pay C$100 million annually to news publishers in the country. Meta, in contrast, decided to block news on Facebook and Instagram in Canada to avoid the payments.

"We will continue to push Meta, that makes billions of dollars in profits, even though it is refusing to invest in the journalistic rigor and stability of the media," Trudeau told reporters in Vancouver.

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Meta said it will stick to its decision. "News outlets choose to use our free services because it helps their bottom line, and today's release of final regulations does not change our business decision," said Rachel Curran, head of public policy for Meta Canada.

The law, part of a global trend, is designed to address Canadian media industry concerns about declining revenue as internet companies elbow news businesses out of the online advertising market.

Meta started blocking news sharing on Facebook and Instagram in August, saying news holds no economic value for its businesses.

Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge said the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) would "pay close attention to Facebook and Meta" as part of its enforcement.

Paul Deegan, CEO of industry body News Media Canada, said the government had delivered a "durable, world-leading framework that is balanced and predictable for both news publishers and platforms," and called on Meta to follow Google's lead.

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