Meta begins blocking news in Canada over new law

2 Aug 2023

Image: © ink drop/

Canada wants digital platforms to share revenue with news outlets, but Meta claims these outlets ‘voluntarily’ share content on Facebook and Instagram to help their bottom line.

Meta has officially begun cutting off news access on Facebook and Instagram for users in Canada, in response to the country’s Online News Act.

The changes means links and content posted by news publishers and broadcasters in Canada will no longer be viewable by people in the country. While news sites outside of the country can still post content, these posts will also not be viewable by people in Canada.

Meta started implementing these changes yesterday (1 August) and plans to implement them fully over the next few weeks.

Canada passed Bill C-18 in June, 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.

The country claims the legislation follows complaints from Canada’s media industry wanting tighter regulation of tech companies to prevent them from pushing out news businesses from the online ad market.

In response, Meta said it would halt news availability on its platforms “for all users in Canada” before the act comes into effect. The company has raised issue with the Online News Act for roughly a year.

In an recent blog post, Meta said the legislation “misrepresents the value news outlets receive when choosing to use our platforms”.

“The legislation is based on the incorrect premise that Meta benefits unfairly from news content shared on our platforms, when the reverse is true,” Meta said in the blog post. “News outlets voluntarily share content on Facebook and Instagram to expand their audiences and help their bottom line. In contrast, we know the people using our platforms don’t come to us for news.

“In the future, we hope the Canadian government will recognise the value we already provide the news industry and consider a policy response that upholds the principles of a free and open internet, champions diversity and innovation, and reflects the interests of the entire Canadian media landscape.”

Meta isn’t the only company that has raised issue with the new legislation. At the end of June, Google also threatened to remove links to news organisations in Canada from its Search, News and Discover products.

Canada has stood firm in response to the threats and hit back against Meta last month, when the country announced it would no longer buy ads on Meta’s Facebook and Instagram platforms.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic