What is Online News Act
The Online News Act will make it mandatory for platforms like Meta and Google to negotiate and pay news publishers for their content posted on their social media platforms. The Act was introduced in April last year.
What Meta has to say
Meta previously said that less than 3% of what people see in their Facebook feeds are posts with links to news articles.
“We believe that news has a real social value. The problem is that it doesn’t have much of an economic value to Meta. That’s the real concern with this legislation,” Rachel Curran, head of public policy for Meta Canada told the House of Commons heritage committee.
“So if we are being asked to compensate news publishers for material that has no economic value to us. That’s where the problem is,” Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) quoted Curran as saying.
Working to not repeat mistakes, says Meta
According to a report by CBC, the tech giant has said that it, however, will be careful, responsible and transparent in removing the news from Facebook and Instagram.
“It’s absolutely our intention to not make the same errors in Canada that we made in Australia,” Curran noted.
This comes after Meta made a “mistake” by blocking online news from Facebook in Australia. In 2021, Facebook temporarily blocked Australians from sharing news stories in response to a bill that asked Google and Facebook to strike commercial deals with news publishers.
After Meta’s accidental blocking, Australian news organisations were not able to post stories and people who tried to share existing news stories were notified that they were blocked. Reportedly, some government communications, including messages about emergency services and some commercial pages, were also blocked.
“Some of the things that were mistakenly scoped in Australia, we’re working very hard to make sure we do not do that this time,” Curran added.
She said that the team at Meta is working to not apply any potential blocks to government pages, emergency services or community organisations.