Meta has threatened to block Canadian users from sharing news on its platforms if the hotly debated Bill C-18 is passed.
In a blog post, Marc Dinsdale, head of media partnerships at Meta Canada, said the “legislation misrepresents the relationship between platforms and news publishers, and we call on the government to rethink its approach to help create a more fair and sustainable news industry in the long-term.
“The framework of the current legislation presumes that Meta unfairly benefits from its relationship with publishers, when in fact the reverse is true. Meta does not scrape content or links to news content. Posts with links to news articles make up less than three per cent of what people see in their Facebook Feed, and Canadians tell us they want to see less news and political content.
“We have repeatedly shared with the government that news content is not a draw for our users and is not a significant source of revenue for our company. Despite this, we’ve collaborated meaningfully with Canadian news providers to invest in partnerships and programs that support the development of sustainable business models for news organizations.”
Dinsdale went on to say, “faced with adverse legislation that is based on false assumptions that defy the logic of how Facebook works, we feel it is important to be transparent about the possibility that we may be forced to consider whether we continue to allow the sharing of news content in Canada.”
Google has also made its case against the bill, telling the Heritage committee it would “make it harder for Canadians to find and share trusted and authoritative news online” and would have “at best, unpredictable outcomes for the evolving Canadian news ecosystem.”
The bill’s prohibition of “undue preference” against publishers would lead to the “proliferation of misinformation and clickbait,” said Colin McKay, head of public policy and government relations for Google Canada. “This means Canadians could be served foreign propaganda outlets alongside reporting from Le Devoir or the Globe and Mail.”