Facebook threatens to block news content in Canada over upcoming mandatory revenue-sharing bill

Facebook warned Friday that it may block news content sharing on its platform in Canada over concerns about laws forcing digital platforms to pay news publishers.

The Online News Act, introduced in April, set out rules to force platforms like By Meta Facebook and Alphabet’s Google to negotiate commercial deals and pay news publishers for their content, in a move similar to a fundamental law passed in Australia last year.

The legislation is being considered at a congressional committee, where the US social media company said it had not been invited to share its concerns.

Marc Dinsdale, head of media partnerships at Meta Canada, said in a blog post: “We believe the Online News Act misrepresents the relationship between platforms and news publishers. news, and we urge the government to reconsider its approach.

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

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

“All we ask tech giants like Facebook to do is negotiate fair deals with news outlets as they profit from their work,” Rodriguez said in a statement. by email.

The law proposes that digital platforms with a “bargaining imbalance” with news businesses – as measured by metrics such as a company’s global revenue – must conduct public transactions. The degree will then be assessed by the governing body.

Dinsdale said news content is not what entices Facebook users and does not generate significant revenue for the company.

When Australia, which is leading global efforts to rein in the power of tech companies, proposes legislation that would force them to pay local media for news content, Google threatened to shut down tech companies. Australian search engine, while Facebook cuts all third-party content from Australian accounts. more than a week.

The two eventually reached an agreement with Australian media companies after a series of amendments to the law were introduced.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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