Facebook threatens to block news content about Canada’s proposed revenue-sharing bill

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OTTAWA, Oct 21 (Reuters) – Facebook warned on Friday it may block the sharing of news content on its platform in Canada due to concerns over legislation that would force digital platforms to pay news publishers.

The Online News Act, introduced in April, set rules to force platforms such as Meta (META.O) Facebook and Alphabet (GOOGL.O) Google to negotiate business deals and pay publishers for news for their content, in a similar move to break the law passed in Australia last year. Read more

The legislation is being reviewed by a parliamentary committee, to which the US social media company said it was not asked to share its concerns.

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“We believe the Online News Act distorts the relationship between platforms and news publishers, and we call on the government to review its approach,” said Marc Dinsdale, head of media partnerships at Meta Canada, in a blog post.

“Faced with adverse legislation based on false assumptions that challenge the logic of how Facebook operates, we believe it’s important to be transparent about the possibility that we may be forced to reconsider allowing Facebook content to be shared. news in Canada,” Dinsdale wrote.

Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, who introduced the bill, said in a statement Friday that the government continues to have “constructive conversations” with Facebook.

“All we ask of tech giants like Facebook is to negotiate fair deals with the media when they profit from their work,” Rodriguez said in an emailed statement.

The legislation proposes that digital platforms that have a “negotiating imbalance” with news companies – measured by metrics like a company’s overall turnover – must enter into fair deals which would then be assessed by a regulator.

Dinsdale said news content does not appeal to Facebook users and does not bring significant revenue to the company.

When Australia, which has led global efforts to limit the powers of tech companies, proposed legislation requiring them to pay local media for news content, Google threatened to shut down its Australian search engine, while that Facebook has cut off all third-party content from Australian accounts for over a week. Read more

The two eventually struck deals with Australian media companies after a series of legislative amendments were proposed.

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Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa, editing by Rosalba O’Brien

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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