Facebook to Block Access to News If ‘Online News Act’ Is Adopted

Facebook’s parent company Meta says it will block access to news content on its platforms if a recently proposed legislation passes in its current form.

Canada’s “Online News Act,” or House of Commons bill C-18, was introduced in April last year.

The bill lays out rules to force platforms like Meta and Alphabet Inc’s Google to negotiate commercial deals and pay news publishers for their content.

However, Meta has responded by threatening to stop Canadians from accessing news content on Facebook and Instagram if the legislation passes as it is.

Meta spokesperson Lisa Laventure says the company made the decision because the act will require it to pay publishers for links or news content that it doesn’t post.

“A legislative framework that compels us to pay for links or content that we do not post, and which are not the reason the vast majority of people use our platforms, is neither sustainable nor workable,” Laventure said.

Tech giants like Meta and Google have fought against the proposed law known as Bill C−18.

The deal would require digital giants such as Google to negotiate deals that would compensate Canadian media companies for linking to or repurposing their content online.

Large Canadian media companies and the federal Liberal government argue the bill would level the playing field for news outlets that compete with tech giants for advertising dollars.

While the Canadian bill would only apply to Canada, the move would set precedent as other nations have also been considering such laws.

Facebook blocked access to news in Australia after a similar law was discussed in 2021.

However, the company quickly backtracked after the government made changes to an arbitration mechanism in the bill.

READ MORE: Facebook Planning to Launch Twitter Rival amid Growing Threat from Elon Musk

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By Frank Bergman

Frank Bergman is a political/economic journalist living on the east coast. Aside from news reporting, Bergman also conducts interviews with researchers and material experts and investigates influential individuals and organizations in the sociopolitical world.

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