The Canadian Congress approved this Thursday (22) a law that obliges online communication groups to pay newspapers and radio and TV companies for broadcasting journalistic content on the internet. The text awaits sanction from the governor-general of the country, Mary Simon.
Lawmakers signaled that the legislation levels relations between giants in the ad market, such as Google and Meta, and the newspaper industry. Opposition senators and MPs voted with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government.
The debate pitted the Canadian administration against the biggest companies in Silicon Valley. Meta had threatened to boycott the legislation by blocking the circulation of news on its social networks in Canadian territory and said, this Thursday, that it will fulfill the promise.
“We confirm that news availability will be terminated on Facebook and Instagram for all users in Canada before the Online News Act (Bill C-18) takes effect,” big tech said in a statement.
Meta came under fire in early 2021 when it implemented a temporary news block in response to a similar bill in Australia, when pages, including those for emergency services, were also blocked.
The owner of Facebook has been testing ways to restrict news in the country without accidentally blocking vital services, according to the Financial Times.
Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said in plenary that the local government will react to threats from Facebook and Google. He had meetings with both companies this week, according to Canadian TV CTV News.
Rodriguez’s spokeswoman, Laura Scaffidi, said the minister had a meeting scheduled this Thursday afternoon with Google, which has yet to comment on the legislation.
The representative employer of the press, News Media Canada, welcomed the passage of the law. “This is an important first step in restoring fair competition and ensuring the sustainability of the Canadian news ecosystem.”