This change came in response to the country’s new law that requires tech giants to pay news outlets for using their content.

Meta, the company behind Facebook and Instagram, has announced the process to ban access to news on Facebook and Instagram for all users in Canada.

This momentous decision was in response to “Online News Act”, a new law in Canada which requires tech companies to compensate news publishers by paying them for their content. The act was passed in June and aims to address major imbalances in the local news system, joining the push by several governments to force large social media companies, like Meta and Google, to compensate news organizations. Modelled after a similar 2021 law passed by Australia, the bill requires platforms and search engines to negotiate with news publishers to license their content.

However, Meta has pushed back against this new legislation. In a blog post, the company said that the new Online News Act “misrepresents the value news outlets receive when choosing to use our platforms”. They claimed that the act was “based on the incorrect premise that Meta benefits unfairly from news content shared on our platforms, when the reverse is actually true”.

According to Andy Stone, the communication director at Meta, the upcoming changes will be implemented “over the course of the next few weeks”.

The effects of Meta’s news ban on Canada should not be understated. For Canadian news publishers and broadcasters, their new content and links posted on platforms will no longer be viewable by the people of Canada. The content posted by international news outlets will be unavailable by people in Canada. Moreover, internet users in Canada will no longer be able to view or share news content on Facebook or Instagram, including articles and audio-visual content.

Canada’s heritage minister, Pascale St-Onge, who oversees the government’s dealings with Meta, has expressed strong disapproval of the move, regarding it as irresponsible and asserting that “they would rather block their users from accessing good quality and local news instead of paying their fair share to news organizations”. She has emphasized the government’s commitment to stand firm and protect the interests of Canadian citizens and has released a statement regarding the same.

Meta’s announcement will undoubtedly have a significant and potentially devastating impact on the news landscape in Canada and provoke conversations on the responsibilities of online platforms and the singular power giant tech companies possess in controlling global access to news.