Facebook & Google to pay for Canadian news content
Parvasi Media News
Following Australia’s ground-breaking law passed last year, Canadian govt have also tabled a proposed legislation in House of Commons that would compel web giants’ platforms like Facebook and Google to pay news publishers for their content.
Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez who introduced Bill C-18 called ‘the Online News Act’, said that this bill, if passed, would force digital giants like Google and Facebook to share some of the revenues they generate from posting Canadian news content with the media outlets that produce the stories.
Canada’s news media industry has been demanding the government for more regulation for tech giants’ companies and allowing the local media industry to recoup financial losses it has suffered in the years that companies like Facebook and Google have been steadily gaining greater market shares of advertising.
More than 450 news outlets in Canada have closed since 2008, including 64 closures in the last two years as 80 per cent of online ad revenues in 2020 went to Google and Facebook.
Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez acknowledged that the news sector in Canada is in crisis and needs to be protected from these tech giants.
Bill C-18, will require digital platforms that have a bargaining imbalance, measured by metrics like a firm’s global revenue, with news businesses to make fair deals, that would then be assessed by a regulator.
The law would work similarly to the one in Australia where it is mandatory for Google and Facebook to pay media companies for content on their platforms.
Both Google and Facebook, in separate statements, said they were reviewing the proposed legislation and looked forward to working with the Canadian government.
The legislation would cover news businesses operating in Canada, including newspapers and news magazines with a digital presence, and allow them to bargain individually as well as in groups.
NDP Critic for Canadian Heritage Peter Julian has also issued the following statement:
“Canadians want reliable information about public health–especially during this pandemic. Unfortunately, the spread of fake news online has compromised the reliability and quality of the information people are getting. It has also created a space to feed online hate. People expect their government to help fix this problem.
Furthermore, the unfair competition from web giants is decreasing the revenue of media outlets that people depend on. The lack of a level playing field is leading to the closure of many local media outlets and making the spread of fake news a pandemic of its own threatening the safety of people, particularly racialized and Indigenous communities.
Following pressure from the NDP, the government is finally acting to force web giants like Facebook and Google to pay news organizations for content produced by their journalists.
For over 6 years, the Liberals have protected the profits of web giants instead of forcing them to pay their fair share for the work done by journalists, as other countries have done.
Liberals like to talk about a level playing field, but in 2018 and 2019, they spent five times more on advertising through foreign digital giants that don’t pay their fair share than on Canadian platforms.