Facebook and Instagram’s news blackout in Canada starts today

Meta is responding to new legislation by blocking news content on the two platforms.

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As promised, Meta has begun blocking news content in Canada. Starting today, Facebook and Instagram users in the country will no longer be able to view or share news links or see videos and photos posted by publishers and broadcasters. The company, which has threatened to make the drastic move for several months, said it will take a few weeks for the change to come into effect for all users in the country.

"News links and content posted by news publishers and broadcasters in Canada will no longer be viewable by people in Canada," Meta said. "We are identifying news outlets based on legislative definitions and guidance from the Online News Act." Any content shared by international news organizations won't be visible on Facebook and Instagram in Canada either.

Meta made the decision in response to Canadian legislators passing the Online News Act. The law requires certain platforms to negotiate revenue-sharing agreements with news organizations. The aim is to address the collapse in advertising revenue that news outlets have struggled with over the last two decades amid the growth of online services.

The CBC has noted that Facebook and Google soak up some 80 percent of digital advertising revenue between them. Google also plans to stop users in Canada from accessing links to news stories across several of its products in response to the legislation.

Meta has previously played hardball with a government over news content. In early 2021, it stopped users in Australia from sharing news links on Facebook. However, Meta, Google and other platform holders relented and eventually reached an agreement to pay publishers there for posting news links and snippets.