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Facebook threatens to pull news content in Canada over proposed revenue sharing law

The post comes after the House of Commons heritage committee failed to invite Facebook to appear during its study of Bill C-18

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Facebook has said it may pull news content from its platform in Canada in response to the Liberal government’s Bill C-18, which would require the company to share its revenue with news publishers.

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In a blog post published late Friday afternoon, he said “it’s important to be transparent about whether we may be forced to consider whether we continue to allow news content to be shared. in Canada”.

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The post comes after the House of Commons heritage committee failed to invite Facebook to appear during its study of the bill. The company confirmed to the National Post earlier in the week that it had not been invited.

He said in the blog post that he was “surprised not to receive an invitation to participate, especially given public comments from lawmakers that this law targets Facebook.”

Bill C-18 targets both Facebook and Google and would force them to enter into business deals with publishers, under threat of mandatory arbitration. The two companies could end up funding 30% of the cost of news production in Canada, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has estimated.

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Google appeared before the committee earlier this week, although Colin McKay, head of public policy and government relations for Google Canada, said in an interview after the meeting that the company had specifically requested to appear. He highlighted a number of concerns with the legislation and is calling on the government to make changes to it.

  1. Colin McKay, Head of Public Policy and Government Relations for Google Canada, testifies before the House of Commons Heritage Committee on October 18, 2022.

    Revenue-sharing bill is ‘bad public policy’, Google tells MPs

  2. (Photo by LEON NEAL,LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images)

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This isn’t the first time Meta has said removing news content from Canada was a potential response to the legislation. Rachel Curran, head of public policy for Canada at Meta, told a parliamentary committee earlier this year that was not out of the question.

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That’s exactly what the company did in Australia last year when that country passed a law similar to C-18, on which the Canadian bill is based.

Meta changed course when it moved and restored news content to Facebook a week later.

On Friday, Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez accused Meta of continuing “to pull from their manual used in Australia”.

“At the end of the day, we want to make sure that Canada has a free and independent press, it’s fundamental to our democracy. Canadians need access to accurate and reliable news. All we ask of tech giants like Facebook is to negotiate fair deals with the media when they profit from their work,” he said in an emailed statement.

Meta said in its blog post on Friday that it had “shared repeatedly with the government that news content is not a draw for our users and is not a significant source of revenue for our business.”

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