Canada may soon oblige digital behemoths Google and Meta to compensate news organizations for content shared or repurposed on their platforms.
The bill was passed by Canada’s Senate on Thursday, amid a disagreement between Silicon Valley and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government.
The legislation is in response to what Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez refers to as “threats” from Facebook and Google to remove news from their platforms. The measure, according to Ottawa, is intended to level the playing field between online advertising behemoths and the declining journalistic industry.
In compliance with the bill, Meta has confirmed that it will no longer make news available on Facebook and Instagram for its Canadian users. Lisa Laventure, the head of communications for Meta in Canada, stated,
- “We have repeatedly shared that in order to comply with Bill C-18, which was passed today in Parliament, content from news outlets, including news publishers and broadcasters, will no longer be available to people accessing our platforms in Canada.”
Google is also taking steps to address the bill’s requirements. Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez is scheduled to meet with Google, and the tech platform is planning to remove news links from its search engine, although no further details have been disclosed. Both Meta and Google have conducted tests blocking news for a portion of their Canadian users.
The Online News Act mandates that both companies enter into agreements with news publishers to pay for news content that appears on their sites and contributes to the tech giants’ revenue generation.
However, the tech giants are not immediately bound by the act once Bill C-18 passes. All details will be made public before any tech giant is designated under the act, according to spokesperson Laura Scaffidi.