Google and Meta Must Pay for News: Canadian Senate's Verdict 

The Canada Senate bill mandates compensation for news content from tech giants, signaling a significant step towards fairness in the digital news landscape.

  • The bill aims to address the power imbalance between tech giants and news publishers by requiring compensation for the use of news content.
  • Meta has confirmed compliance with the bill by removing news availability on its platforms, while Google’s response remains uncertain.

This Thursday, Canada’s Senate has passed a bill that mandates Google and Meta, formerly known as Facebook, to pay media outlets for the news content they share or repurpose on their platforms. Canadian Senate Passes Bill requiring Google and Meta to Pay for News comes amidst an intense standoff between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government and Silicon Valley tech giants. 

The passing of this bill signifies a significant development in the ongoing struggle to establish a level playing field between online advertising behemoths and the struggling news industry. Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez has been vocal about defending journalism from the perceived threats posed by Facebook and Google, who have hinted at removing news from their platforms. 

Meta has confirmed its intent to comply with the bill by ceasing the availability of news on Facebook and Instagram for its Canadian users, aligning with its earlier suggestions. However, Meta has not provided a specific timeline for this change, although it has assured that local news will be removed from its site before the Online News Act takes effect. The bill will come into force six months after it receives royal assent. 

According to ABC News, Lisa Laventure, head of communications for Meta in Canada, stated, “We have repeatedly shared that in order to comply with Bill C-18, which was passed today in Parliament, content from news outlets, including news publishers and broadcasters, will no longer be available to people accessing our platforms in Canada.” 

The bill has received praise from legacy media outlets and broadcasters, as it promises to enhance fairness in the digital news marketplace and bring in much-needed financial support for struggling newsrooms. Over the years, tech giants such as Meta and Google have faced criticism for disrupting and dominating the advertising industry, overshadowing smaller, traditional players. 

This is not the first time Meta has taken such action. In 2021, the company temporarily blocked news from its platform in Australia after the country passed legislation that required tech companies to compensate publishers for using their news stories. yet, Meta eventually reached agreements with Australian publishers to resolve the dispute. 

Laura Scaffidi, a spokesperson for Minister Rodriguez, revealed that he is scheduled to meet with Google, which has hinted at the possibility of removing news links from its popular search engine. Google has not provided any comments on the matter at this time. 

Both Meta and Google have already conducted tests blocking news for a portion of their Canadian users. Meta is currently testing the news block on up to five percent of its Canadian users, while Google ran a similar test earlier this year. 

Under the Online News Act, both tech giants will be required to enter into agreements with news publishers, compensating them for news content that appears on their platforms and contributes to their revenue generation. Yet, it is important to note that the tech giants will not be immediately obligated to comply with the act upon its passage. 

In a bid to address similar concerns, New Zealand’s Broadcasting Minister Willie Jackson plans to introduce a bill that would compel tech giants to negotiate with domestic news publishers. Several New Zealand publishers have already reached agreements with Google, ensuring payment for the inclusion of their stories in Google’s news showcase. 

The passage of this bill by Canada Senate bill news content compensation marks a significant step in rebalancing the relationship between tech giants and the news industry. As the new law takes effect, media outlets can expect increased financial support and a renewed sense of fairness in the digital news landscape. 

Inside Telecom provides you with an extensive list of content covering all aspects of the tech industry. Keep an eye on our Impact section to stay informed and up-to-date with our daily articles.