Facebook, Instagram Block News Availability in Canada


As a consumer of information, whether travel or otherwise, your access to news is now compromised. As are the opportunities for content distribution by travel news publishers such as Open Jaw.

In an Orwellian reminiscent power play, CBC reported that on 01AUG, Meta - the parent company of Facebook and Instagram - formally began its ban on news in Canada, ending weeks of speculation over when the company would officially retaliate against the Liberal government’s online news law, Bill C-18. 

“In order to comply with the Online News Act, we have begun the process of ending news availability in Canada. These changes start today, and will be implemented for all people accessing Facebook and Instagram in Canada over the course of the next few weeks,” a statement from the company read.

Canadians will no longer be able to view or post news content on Facebook or Instagram. News outlets, including international ones, will start having their content blocked on those platforms.

The decision by Meta has sent shockwaves through the digital landscape. The move could have far-reaching implications for how people consume news and may significantly impact news outlets in the country, including the travel trade.

In one compelling example of a monopoly’s power to control what we consume, a Breaking News posting by Open Jaw was “refused” by Facebook, saying it doesn’t comply with their policy.

Bill C-18 was designed to force platforms such as Meta and Google - which share, repurpose and direct users to online news content - to strike monetary deals with the publishers who produce those stories, and face penalties if they don’t.

Meta has responded by giving Ottawa the proverbial finger.

With over 2.8 billion monthly active users globally, Meta holds a dominant position in the social media landscape, and its role as a news aggregator has been significant. For many Canadians, Facebook has been an important source of news and information, serving as a gateway to various media outlets and journalistic reports.

Over the past decades, social media platforms have transformed the way news is distributed and consumed. With the advent of algorithm-driven news feeds, users have become accustomed to having personalized content tailored to their interests and preferences.

For news outlets, the fallout of Meta’s shift could be substantial. 

According to a McGill University op/ed, the Online News Act is “bad for journalism and bad for Canada.”

However, the federal government said the bill is necessary to allow struggling news organizations to "secure fair compensation" for news and links shared on the tech platforms, reports the BBC.

Former heritage minister Pablo Rodriguez has refused to give in to Meta’s threats, announcing last month that Ottawa would halt all government advertising on Facebook and Instagram. According to the Toronto Star, the recent news also marked the first time the Liberals’ new heritage minister, Pascale St-Onge, condemned Meta and waded into the fray.

Google has also announced plans to block Canadian news in the country in response to the Online News Act when it takes effect in about six months, reports CTV News

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