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


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

The Online News Act, introduced in April, established 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, in a move similar to the law-breaking passed in Australia last year. read more

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

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

“In the face of adverse legislation based on false assumptions that defy the logic of how Facebook operates, we believe it is important to be transparent about the possibility that we may be forced to reconsider allowing news content sharing in Canada,” Dinsdale wrote.

Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, who introduced the bill, said in a statement Friday that the government continues to have “constructive discussions” with Facebook.

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

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

Dinsdale said the news content was not attractive to Facebook users and did not generate significant revenue for the company.

When Australia, which has led global efforts to rein in the powers of tech companies, proposed legislation requiring them to pay local media for news content, Google threatened to shut down its Australian search engine, while Facebook removed all third party content from Australian accounts for more than a week. read more

Both finally reached agreements with Australian media companies after a series of amendments to the legislation 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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