Meta, the company which owns Facebook, has responded to Bill C-18 by saying it might block Canadian users from sharing or viewing news on Facebook.
As previously reported by The Counter Signal, if passed, Bill C-18 will enable the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to force social media companies, such as Meta (Facebook), Google, and possibly Twitter, to pay Canadian news outlets for ad revenues generated by their content being shared and viewed.
And to say Bill C-18 is broad in what qualifies as deserving of compensation is an understatement. Social media companies could be forced to pay up when an individual merely clicks a news link on their site.
Additionally, as University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist explains, “On top of that, the CRTC will also create a code of conduct, implement the code, and wield penalty powers for failure to comply. Far from a hands-off approach, the CRTC will instantly become the most powerful market regulator of the news sector in Canada.”
Meta Canada executive Rachel Curran told the Commons Public Safety Committee that the company had not ruled out banning Canadian news as an option.
“We are still looking at all of the options based on our evaluation of the legislation,” said Curran.
Curran also said that the Liberals did not consult the company when drafting the legislation, though it would have significant consequences.
And there’s precedent for Facebook to ban Canadian content, too. For instance, when the Australian government instituted similar legislation last year, Facebook responded with a similar ban.
Moreover, while Liberals claim that the Bill is intended to help small Canadian businesses, the biggest winner of the payout would be Trudeau’s federally funded CBC, which already received over $1 billion in taxpayer funds.
The CBC is, of course, providing fanfare for the legislation.
“This legislation is an important step in ensuring fair compensation for news content produced by CBC/Radio-Canada and supported by Canadians,” said CBC spokesperson Leon Mar.
Similarly, in submissions on a separate attempt to censor the internet by the Liberals through incoming online hate speech legislation, Twitter accused the Trudeau government of trying to implement laws similar to North Korea, all but outright calling the Liberal government a bunch of Communists.
“The proposal by the government of Canada to allow the Digital Safety Commissioner to block websites is drastic. People around the world have been blocked from accessing Twitter and other services in a similar manner as the one proposed by Canada by multiple authoritarian governments (China, North Korea, and Iran, for example) under the false guise of ‘online safety’ impeding peoples’ rights to access information online,” wrote the company.