Facebook threatens to block news content over Canada’s proposed revenue sharing law

OTTAWA, Oct 21 (Reuters) – Facebook warned on Friday that it could block news content sharing on its platform in Canada amid concerns over legislation that would force digital platforms to pay news publishers.

The Online News Act, introduced in April, laid down rules to force platforms like Meta’s Facebook (META.O) and Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL.O) to negotiate commercial deals and pay news publishers for their content, much like a ground -breaking law passed in Australia last year. Continue reading

The legislation is currently under consideration in a parliamentary committee, to which the US social media company said it had not been invited to air its concerns.

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“We believe the Online News Act misrepresents the relationship between platforms and news publishers, and we urge the government to review its approach,” said Marc Dinsdale, head of media partnerships at Meta Canada, in a blog post.

“In the face of adverse laws based on false assumptions that contradict the logic of how Facebook works, we believe it’s important to be transparent about the possibility that we could be forced to reconsider unblocking news content in Canada.” , Dinsdale wrote.

Canada’s Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, who introduced the bill, said in a statement on Friday that the government continued to have “constructive discussions” with Facebook.

“All we ask of tech giants like Facebook is to negotiate fair deals with news outlets when they benefit from their work,” Rodriguez said in an emailed statement.

The legislation proposes that digital platforms that have a “bargaining imbalance” with news companies – measured by metrics such as a company’s global revenue – must make fair deals, which are then assessed by a regulator.

Dinsdale said news content doesn’t attract Facebook users and doesn’t generate significant revenue for the company.

When Australia, which has been leading global efforts to curb the power of tech companies, proposed legislation forcing them to pay local media for news content, Google threatened to shut down its Australian search engine, while Facebook cut off all third-party content from Australian accounts for more than one Week. Continue reading

Both eventually struck deals with Australian media companies after a series of legislative changes were offered.

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Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa, editing by Rosalba O’Brien

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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