Canada discontinues advertising with Facebook and Instagram due to controversy

The federal government of Canada has announced that it will remove all advertising from Facebook and Instagram.

It follows parent company Meta's decision to limit news content for Canadians following the passage of a law requiring tech firms to pay media for news. Wednesday, Canadian officials stated that they will adhere to the law and will not be "intimidated" by Meta. They stated that they have been in contact with countries planning to pass similar legislation.

As a further response to the Online News Act, commonly known as Bill C-18, Google has stated that it intends to restrict access to Canadian news within the country once the legislation is enacted in around six months. However, Canadian government representatives have expressed their optimism that they would be able to successfully strike a deal with Alphabet, the parent company of Google, that will prevent the block from being implemented.

We intend to address Google's concerns in the (law's) regulations, Minister of Heritage Pablo Rodriguez said at a news conference on Wednesday. On the other hand, Mr. Rodriguez stated that Meta has not engaged with the government in the same manner regarding a future course of action. Mr. Rodriguez estimates that Canada's decision to remove all advertising from Meta's platform will cost the tech behemoth $10 million (7.54 million CAD: £5.93 million GBP) in revenue.

He did not specify whether the advertising withdrawal would apply to Meta's upcoming Twitter competitor, Threads. Mr. Rodriguez, however, stated that Canada's action would theoretically apply to all platforms under the parent company. 

Meta, whose annual revenue in 2022 exceeded $116 billion, the loss of government advertising is insignificant. However, according to Mr. Rodriguez, Canada is intent to send the message that it will not be intimidated. He added that he believes it will inspire others, such as Canadian businesses, to follow suit. Both Quebecor and Cogeco have announced they will withdraw their advertisements from Meta.

Meta stated in a statement to various sources that Bill C-18 "is a flawed policy that overlooks the realities of how our platforms function."  The company explained that publishers actively choose to post on Instagram and Facebook as it benefits them to do so. 

According to the federal government, the measure is necessary to permit struggling news organizations to "secure fair compensation" for news and links shared on technological platforms. Australia enacted a law identical to Bill C-18 in 2021, but it was modified after Meta temporarily blocked users in the country from sharing or viewing news on its platform.

After the amendments were made, the blackout was lifted, and Google and Meta have since negotiated more than 30 agreements with Australian media companies. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated on Wednesday that he believes Canada has become a global test case for laws such as Bill C-18.

Mr. Trudeau stated of tech titans such as Meta, "This is what they want to do: make an example of us." "Facebook determined that Canada is a small enough country to reject our requests," he explained. They made a poor decision by choosing to assault Canada.