Facebook blocks news to avoid Canadian journalism bill.

Meta Blocks News for Some Users in Canada

Facebook parent company Meta is blocking news for some users in Canada, an escalation in its efforts to fend off legislation from parliament that would force it to share revenues with journalism outfits.

Meta said Friday that it is engaging in tests of its ability to block news that will “limit some users and publishers from viewing or sharing some news content in Canada.”

Hardball Approach to Regulation

The move was seen by legislators as an effort to pressure them not to pass Bill C-18, legislation that would force Facebook to share more profits with news publishers, a hardball approach toward a form of regulation that has also gained support in the United States and elsewhere.

“I find it disturbing that one company has enough power to withhold critical information from citizens,” Danielle Coffey, CEO of the News/Media Alliance, told the Washington Examiner.

The tests will affect outlets within Canada and outside of it, Meta said.

Unacceptable Threats

“When a big tech company, no matter their size, no matter the amount of money and the powerful lawyers they have, comes here and tells us, ‘if you don’t do this or that, then I’m pulling the plug’ – that’s a threat and is unacceptable,” tweeted Pablo Rodriguez, the minister of Canadian heritage, on Friday.

Meta spokesman Nick Clegg slammed the legislation in May and issued a threat that Facebook would cut off news altogether in Canada if it passed.

Similar Bills in Congress

Congress is considering a similar bill in the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act 2023. The bill was pushed through the Judiciary Committee last term but failed to pass due to disagreements about amendments. Meta made similar threats over the JCPA. California’s State Assembly also passed its own version of the bill, which Meta slammed on Wednesday. That bill still requires Senate approval and the governor’s signature.

While Meta has threatened to pull its news coverage in the past, the threats failed to remain in place for long. The company banned sharing and viewing news stories in Australia after the country passed a law requiring the Big Tech giant to pay news outlets for their content. Yet the ban was reversed within days after international pressure.

Click here to read more from the Washington Examiner.

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