Canada’s online news bill raises Meta’s concern

LONDON: Tech giant Meta said on Thursday it has “serious concerns” about Canada’s new online news bill, which would force tech companies to compensate news outlets for reusing their work on social media platforms.

Modeled on a law in Australia, Canada’s new bill is aimed at supporting the news industry in the country.

Different in some respects from the Australian model, however, Canada’s law will set up a process for digital platforms to privately negotiate deals with newspapers, magazines and online news groups, as well as broadcasters that publish news online.

It will allow news organizations to partner with digital companies to bargain for compensation.

Rachel Curran from Meta Canada said that the company, which owns Facebook and Instagram, is going through the proposed law in detail and looking at options for a future response.

She added that Meta was “not consulted” on its content, a statement which was immediately refuted by Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez’s spokeswoman, who accused Curran of making a “false claim.”

“We are still looking at all of the options based on our evaluation of the legislation,” Curran replied.

The Meta public policy head added that she could not “comment definitively on our future action with respect to the bill specifically, since we are still evaluating it.”

“I will say we do have some pretty serious concerns,” she said.

Laura Scaffidi, the heritage minister’s spokeswoman, said it was untrue that Rodriguez had not consulted Meta about the bill.

“The minister met Facebook on Feb. 10, and officials from the Department of Canadian Heritage met Ms. Curran multiple times since last fall’s election. Facebook chose not to participate in the consultation last year.”

Scaffidi said Rodriguez “is open to constructive dialogue with tech giants,” adding that Facebook was not given the chance to read the legislation before members of the House of Commons.

“Since the bill was introduced, we have not heard from Facebook — until Ms. Curran’s false claim today,” she said.

If news outlets and media firms cannot reach a deal within six months, tech platforms will be forced into mediation with news outlets and, failing that, binding arbitration. Rodriguez has said arbitration would be “a last resort.”

Digital platforms that fail to comply with the new law could face penalties of up to $15 million per day for repeated noncompliance.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post