Canada stops ads on Meta platforms as news row escalates

6 Jul 2023

Image: © madscinbca/

Meta recently moved to restrict news content for Canadian users, in response to a new act that seeks to make digital platforms pay for news content.

Canada has taken another swing at Meta by no longer buying ads on its Facebook and Instagram platforms, as the row over the country’s Online News Act escalates.

The country’s prime minister Justin Trudeau said that Canada would “stand firm” to ensure that social media platforms pay their “fair share” for the media they use, Reuters reports. Canada’s Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez told reporters that the government still sees a path forward to resolve the dispute.

But he claimed Meta “refused to discuss and they did not want to compensate the media accordingly”, which led to the advertising halt.

The decision by Canada’s government has caused media organisation Quebecor to follow suit and withdraw “all advertising by its subsidiaries and business units from Facebook and Instagram”. The organisation also called on other organisations to show their disagreements with “Meta’s affront to public policy and the news media”.

Online News Act commotion

Canada passed Bill C-18 last month, which seeks to bring “fair revenue sharing” between digital platforms and news outlets. This would essentially make companies like Meta have to pay media outlets for content being shared on sites like Facebook.

Meta hit back against the act by restricting news content for Canadian users, a move that Meta had long warned would happen if Bill C-18 was passed.

Google followed suit roughly one week later and said it would remove links to Canadian news from its Search, News and Discover products once the law comes into effect. The law is currently being implemented and is expected to come into effect before the end of the year.

Meta said last month that it has been conducting product tests – impacting “a small percentage” of users in Canada – to comply with the law in a way that ends news availability on its platforms.

In a statement to the BBC, Meta described Bill C-18 as “flawed legislation that ignores the realities of how our platforms work”.

“Publishers actively choose to post on Facebook and Instagram because it benefits them to do so,” Meta said.

A groundbreaking law similar to Bill C-18 was passed in Australia two years ago, which saw Meta – then Facebook – block Australian news content from appearing on its platform overnight.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic