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Canadian News Agencies Seeking Investigation Into Meta

Canadian News Agencies Seeking Investigation Into Meta

Sarah Hardacre
Canadian news groups, including News Media Canada, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, and CBC/Radio-Canada, are asking the Canada’s Competition Bureau to investigate Meta for its removal of Canadian news content for users in Canada.

In a statement, the group of news agencies said that “Meta’s anticompetitive conduct, which has attracted the attention of regulators around the world, will strengthen its already dominant position in advertising and social media distribution and harm Canadian journalism.” One study estimates that 80% of all online ad revenue goes to Meta and Google.

Meta announced on August 1 that it had started to remove news content in Canada ahead of the Online News Act, or Bill C-18, coming into effect in December this year. Passed in June, the Online News Act requires tech platforms to compensate news agencies for displaying their content.

Meta mentioned it would be rolling out the removal of news content over the next few weeks for users of Facebook and Instagram in Canada. It clarified that this will only affect users based in Canada.

The tech conglomerate continues to claim that the Online News Act is based on “the incorrect premise that Meta benefits unfairly from news content shared on our platforms.” It claims that users do not come to the Meta platforms for news content and requiring it to compensate news agencies would be unsustainable for its business.

Google has also said that it is planning to remove news content by the time the legislation comes into effect. It is planning to remove links to Canadian news content from search results and other products.

The Canadian government continues to prepare for the legislation to take effect and has said that Meta refuses to be part of the discussions. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau states that “Canada is going to continue to stand firm and ensure that if social media platforms and internet giants want to use media, that they actually ensure that they’re paying their fair share for it.”

The Competition Bureau has not yet agreed to investigate Meta, but a spokesperson says it is “gathering information to consider whether this conduct may fall under the Competition Act, including ways that this specific conduct may harm competition.”

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