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After Australia, Facebook could block news in Canada

Facebook Canada's Head of Policy Kevin Chan said that any new policy that requires publishers to pay for news content breaks the premise of how a free and open internet works.

twitter-logoIndia Today Tech | March 30, 2021 | Updated 15:26 IST
(Picture: Reuters)

Highlights

  • Heritage Minister of Canada noted that the government is consulting with France and Australia.
  • Facebook stripped the pages of domestic and foreign news outlets for Australians in February following public outrage.
  • Similar propositions have been stated for India where a large number of people are Facebook users.

Facebook has hinted that it could block news content in Canada following reports stating the tech giants will be required to share their revenue with news publishers. Last month, Facebook blocked news content in Australia for five days in response to proposed legislation requiring digital giants to pay media outlets for linking to their work. Facebook Canada's head of policy, Kevin Chan, on Monday said that any law that forces Facebook to pay publishers each time their news content is shared on its platform fundamentally breaks the premise of how a free and open internet works."It is never something we would ever want to do unless we really have no choice," Chan said in a parliamentary committee hearing.

"News is not free and has never been. Our position is clear: publishers must be adequately compensated for their work and we will support them as they deliver essential information for the benefit of our democracy and the health and well-being of our communities," Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault said in a statement to The Canadian Press.

He noted that the government is consulting with France and Australia over the market imbalance between news media organizations and those who benefit from their work. Last month, Canadian Heritage minister Steven Guilbeault, in charge of crafting similar legislation to be unveiled in coming months, condemned Facebook's action and said it would not deter Ottawa.

"Canada is at the forefront of this battle. We are really among the first group of countries around the world that are doing this," he told reporters. Facebook stripped the pages of domestic and foreign news outlets for Australians in February. It blocked users of its platform from sharing any news content saying it had been left with no choice ahead of the new content laws, Reuters had reported. The move, which also erased several state government and emergency department accounts, as well as nonprofit charity sites, caused widespread outrage following which Facebook restored the pages after five days.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison noted that he had received support from world leaders after the social media giant blacked out all media. Similar propositions have been stated for India where a large number of people are Facebook users. Earlier this month, Rajya Sabha member Sushil Modi from the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) proposed that the country should institute a law that ensures Google Facebook share their revenues with publishers and media houses for displaying their content.


"The government must make Google, Facebook and YouTube pay to print and news channels for the news content they are using freely," the former deputy chief minister of Bihar said during Zero Hour. "I would urge the government of India that the way they have notified Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code to regulate social media and OTT platforms, they should enact a law on the pattern of Australian Code so that we can compel Google to share its revenue with traditional media," he added.

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