Updated on August 1st, 2023
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.
For Canadian news outlets this means:
News links and content posted by news publishers and broadcasters in Canada will no longer be viewable by people in Canada. We are identifying news outlets based on legislative definitions and guidance from the Online News Act.
For international news outlets this means:
News publishers and broadcasters outside of Canada will continue to be able to post news links and content, however, that content will not be viewable by people in Canada.
For our Canadian community this means:
People in Canada will no longer be able to view or share news content on Facebook and Instagram, including news articles and audio-visual content posted by news outlets.
For our international community this means:
There is no change to our services for people accessing our technologies outside of Canada.
A Business Decision to Comply with the Online News Act
Nearly one year ago, we shared our concerns that the Online News Act would force us to consider whether to continue allowing the sharing of news content on our platforms. We have been transparent and have made it clear to the Canadian government that the legislation misrepresents the value news outlets receive when choosing to use our platforms. The legislation is based on the incorrect premise that Meta benefits unfairly from news content shared on our platforms, when the reverse is true. News outlets voluntarily share content on Facebook and Instagram to expand their audiences and help their bottom line. In contrast, we know the people using our platforms don’t come to us for news.
While the process of drafting regulations under the Online News Act is ongoing, that process is unfortunately not equipped to make changes to the fundamental features of the legislation that have always been unworkable. The only way we can reasonably comply with this legislation is to end news availability for people in Canada. We are announcing these changes, that begin today, to provide clarity to the millions of Canadians and businesses who use our platforms.
Canadians will always be able to use our technologies to connect with friends, families and groups, engage with their local communities and discover something new.
Collaboration on Accessing News Online
People in Canada can continue to access news online by going directly to news publishers’ websites, downloading mobile news apps, and subscribing to their preferred publishers. Meta collaborated with Québec digital literacy expert Nellie Brière to equip people with information about how they can continue to access local news and information online. Find the guide here.
We are proud of the role we have played to support a healthy and diverse news ecosystem. Our free tools and services created pathways for local publishers to connect with their communities and for established media outlets to continue to grow their audiences – free marketing which generated more than CDN $230 million in estimated value in a twelve month period. In the future, we hope the Canadian government will recognize the value we already provide the news industry and consider a policy response that upholds the principles of a free and open internet, champions diversity and innovation, and reflects the interests of the entire Canadian media landscape.
Updated on June 22nd, 2023
Today, we are confirming that news availability will be ended on Facebook and Instagram for all users in Canada prior to the Online News Act (Bill C-18) taking effect.
We have repeatedly shared that in order to comply with Bill C-18, 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.
Earlier this month, we announced that we were conducting product tests to help us build an effective product solution to end news availability as a result of C-18. These tests are ongoing and currently impact a small percentage of users in Canada.
The changes affecting news content will not otherwise impact Meta’s products and services in Canada. We want to assure the millions of Canadians on our platforms that they will always be able to connect with friends and family, grow their businesses and support their local communities.
We will continue to combat misinformation and have built the largest global fact-checking network of any platform by partnering with more than 90 independent fact-checking organisations around the world who review and rate viral misinformation in more than 60 languages globally. Fact-checking will continue with respect to content that remains available in Canada.
Originally published on June 1st, 2023
As we have shared, content from news outlets, including news publishers and broadcasters, will not be available to people accessing Facebook and Instagram in Canada if Bill C-18, the Online News Act, is passed into law. As we prepare to comply with the legislation, we are announcing today that we will begin tests on both platforms that will limit some users and publishers from viewing or sharing some news content in Canada.
Randomised tests will help us build an effective product solution to end news availability in Canada as defined in Bill C-18. Throughout the testing period, which will run for several weeks, a small percentage of people in Canada who are enrolled in testing will be notified if they attempt to share news content.
Product tests will impact news outlets both within and outside of Canada. Meta is identifying news outlets on our platforms based on the current language of Bill C-18. As drafted, the legislation states that news outlets are in scope if they primarily report on, investigate or explain current issues or events of public interest.
News outlets will continue to have access to their accounts and Pages, and will be able to post news links and content; however, some content will not be viewable in Canada. Outlets will continue to have access to the Meta Business Suite and advertising tools. Those enrolled in testing will have access to a review process if they believe they do not fall within the intended scope of the legislation.
Product tests are an important step in Meta’s rigorous approach to product development. They are a common industry practice to make sure the product experience works as expected and are an important part of our commitment to comply with the Online News Act responsibly and transparently.
As we have repeatedly shared, the Online News Act is fundamentally flawed legislation that ignores the realities of how our platforms work, the preferences of the people who use them, and the value we provide news publishers. As the Minister of Canadian Heritage has said, how we choose to comply with the legislation is a business decision we must make, and we have made our choice. While these product tests are temporary, we intend to end the availability of news content in Canada permanently following the passage of Bill C-18.
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Very strange and inconvenient...
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