Meta issued a threat to Canada, warning that it may block links to news sites on its social networks if the country moves forward with its proposed “Online News Act.” The legislation would require internet companies to pay publishers for their content, and Meta is not the only tech giant to take issue with the bill. Google has also issued ultimatums over the proposed law, called C-18.
The Online News Act is designed to help support the struggling news industry in Canada, which has been hit hard by declining advertising revenue and the rise of social media. The legislation would require internet companies like Meta and Google to negotiate payments with news publishers for the use of their content on their platforms. If the companies cannot reach an agreement, an arbitrator would step in to set the terms.
However, Meta and Google have both argued that the legislation is unfair and would harm their business models. Meta has said that it would be forced to block links to news sites on its social networks if the bill passes, while Google has threatened to pull its search engine from the country altogether.
The threats have been met with criticism from some in Canada, who argue that the tech companies are trying to bully the country into backing down from the legislation. Others have pointed out that similar laws have been passed in other countries, including Australia and France, without causing major disruptions to the tech companies’ operations.
Despite the threats, the Canadian government has indicated that it is standing firm on the proposed legislation. Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has said that the bill is necessary to support the news industry and ensure that it can continue to provide high-quality journalism to Canadians.
The issue has also raised broader questions about the power of tech companies and their relationship with the news industry. Critics argue that companies like Meta and Google have become too dominant in the online space, making it difficult for news publishers to compete. Others argue that the tech companies have profited from the use of news content without fairly compensating the publishers.
As the debate continues, it remains to be seen whether Meta and Google will follow through on their threats to block links to news sites in Canada. However, the issue has underscored the tensions between tech companies and the news industry, and the need for a more equitable relationship between the two.