Canadian legislation designed to get US digital technology giants to pay local publishers for news clips shared or reused on their platforms has become law.
But the passage of Bill C-18, also known as the Online News Act, has so far failed to convince Meta and Google to enter into commercial licensing deals with Canadian publishers for their local platforms. Instead, Meta announced it will block Canadians from viewing or sharing news on its Facebook and Instagram sites north of the border.
“We have repeatedly shared that in order to comply with Bill C-18 passed in Parliament today, content from news outlets, including news publishers and broadcasters, will no longer be available to people who access our platforms in Canada,” Meta , a division of Facebook, said in a statement Thursday.
Canadian representatives for Alphabet’s Google could not be reached for immediate comment, but the digital giant has indicated it may also pull the plug on its local news section north of the border. Google did a previous test run that temporarily blocked news content for certain Canadian audiences.
The standoff with the Silicon Valley tech giants has undermined efforts by the federal government in Ottawa to allow Meta and Google — both major internet gateways for Canadians — to share local revenue with news publishers after mandatory negotiations.
“A free and independent press is fundamental to our democracy. It creates a level playing field by containing the power of big technology and ensuring that even our smallest news companies can benefit from this regime and receive fair compensation for their work,” Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said in a statement. declaration.
The passage of Bill C-18 is part of an ongoing review of Canada’s media regulatory regime that for the first time imposes rules and obligations on US digital platforms operating locally and with outsized market power as competition from foreign online platforms continues to be local broadcasters and news publishers force under pressure.
The country recently passed Bill C-11, also known as the Online Streaming Act, which will force digital platforms such as Netflix, Disney+ and Spotify to subsidize local content for the first time.
Another round of lobbying will now take place in Ottawa as the CRTC, the country’s media regulator, is called upon to develop a new framework to ensure foreign streaming giants invest in local film and TV production, as well as determine how deep Americans will dive into their pockets to do this.
The CRTC will similarly oversee the Online News Act and negotiations — including potential arbitration over the final bid — between the US digital platforms and Canadian news publishers. Bill C-18 follows similar legislation in Australia, where Meta also blocked news content from reaching local users before establishing a fund to compensate local publishers.