7 Things You Need to Know About Meta’s Canadian News Ban

7 Things You Need to Know About Meta’s Canadian News Ban

You’ve likely heard some buzz about rising tension between Meta and our Canadian government. 

And if you’re anything like the team here at TechWyse, you want to know how changes in social media algorithms and regulations will impact your business in 2023. 

That’s why we’re taking a little pause from our regular blog format to dig deeper into your burning Meta questions, including how your business can take advantage of the current Facebook and Instagram news ban.

What is going on with Meta and the Canadian government?

On June 1st, 2023, Meta confirmed it would move forward with a plan to prevent Canadians from accessing news on Facebook and Instagram before Bill C-18, the Online News Act, comes into effect.

This action is a direct result of Meta’s displeasure with the Bill. 

"We have repeatedly shared that to comply with Bill C-18 ... content from news outlets, including news publishers and broadcasters, will no longer be available to people accessing our platforms in Canada,” Meta said in a statement

What is Bill C-18?

On April 5th, 2022, Bill C-18 was introduced by Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez to compensate Canadian news organizations for the use of their journalistic content on social media platforms. 

The purpose of Bill C-18 is to support news media outlets in recouping funds they have lost due to advertising restrictions and competition via Google, Meta, and other media giants.

“[Bill C-18] levels the playing field by putting the power of big tech in check and ensuring that even our smallest news business can benefit through this regime and receive fair compensation for their work." - Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez

As stated by the Canadian government, “Bill C-18 seeks to support balanced negotiations between the businesses that operate dominant digital news intermediaries and the businesses responsible for the news outlets that produce this news content”.

Why is there controversy around Bill C-18?

As a result of Meta’s ban, news stories that usually appear on social media in Canada have begun to disappear from feeds. That means a significant drop in posts with links to resources like The Canadian Press, The Globe & Mail, or The Independent.

The concern is that if news organizations cannot share their articles online, consumers lose access to information that impacts their lives. Furthermore, as news outlets lose access to viewership, they may lose advertisers, which will then cause a loss in profit.

Therefore, while Bill C-18 intends to support Canadian news outlets, the response from Meta will cause them a great deal of harm. 

Has the Meta news ban already begun in Canada?

According to the CBC, Meta is conducting tests on ending news access for some Canadians. 

CBC predicts that between one and five percent of the 24 million Canadians who use Facebook or Instagram will be affected during the testing phase. 

How is Canada responding to Meta’s news ban?

On June 7th, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that bullying tactics would not work with his government. 

Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez has said he is open to discussing changes to the Bill. However, Meta’s head of policy, Rachel Curran, said no talks were underway as of June 27th, 2023. 

"We are proceeding towards ending the availability of news permanently in Canada.” -  Rachel Curran

Can my business benefit from the Meta news ban?

The conflict between Canada and Meta has created unique threats and opportunities for Canadian businesses. While local news media organizations will suffer during the ban, small businesses publishing and sharing engaging blog articles on social media may attract more viewers.

As fewer news articles appear on Facebook and Instagram, there will be less competition in getting eyeballs on other forms of content. This shift will be particularly advantageous for small businesses creating and sharing content for industries like real estate, plumbing, dentistry, and beyond. 

Therefore, there’s arguably no better time for industry thought leaders to invest in developing relevant, unique, and high-quality content that will resonate with a less-distracted audience on social media. 

What’s next for Bill C-18?

Bill C-18 received royal assent after passing the House and Senate. 

The Department of Canadian Heritage is now drafting regulations specifying the application of the act. As reported by the CBC, it should take roughly six months for Bill C-18 to take effect.

We’ll be sure to update this story as more information becomes available.

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