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Facebook Has Threatened To Block News Content In Response To Canada's Revenue-Sharing Bill

Facebook Has Threatened To Block News Content In Response To Canada's Revenue-Sharing Bill
Concerned about regulations that would require digital platforms to pay news publishers, Facebook has cautioned that it may block the sharing of news content on its platform in Canada.
In a move similar to a ground-breaking law passed in Australia last year, the Online News Act, introduced in April, laid out rules to force platforms like Meta's Facebook and Alphabet's Google to negotiate commercial deals and pay news publishers for their content. 
The legislation is being considered by a parliamentary committee, to which the social media company has stated that it has not been invited to express its concerns.
"We believe the Online News Act misrepresents the relationship between platforms and news publishers, and we call on the government to review its approach," Marc Dinsdale, head of media partnerships at Meta Canada, said in a blog post.
"In the face of adverse legislation based on false assumptions that defy 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 news content sharing in Canada," Dinsdale wrote.
The bill's sponsor, Canada's Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, said in a statement that the government was still having "constructive conversations" with Facebook.
"All we're asking the tech giants like Facebook to do is negotiate fair deals with news outlets when they profit from their work," Rodriguez said in an emailed statement.
The legislation proposes that digital platforms with a "bargaining imbalance" with news businesses, as measured by metrics such as a firm's global revenue, must make fair deals that will be evaluated by a regulator.
Dinsdale stated that news content was not appealing to Facebook users and did not generate significant revenue for the company.
When Australia proposed legislation requiring tech firms to pay local media for news content, Google threatened to close its Australian search engine, and Facebook blocked all third-party content from Australian accounts for more than a week.
Both eventually reached agreements with Australian media companies after a series of legislative amendments were proposed.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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