(OTTAWA) Content produced by news outlets will no longer appear on Facebook and Instagram if parliamentarians pass Bill C-18 on internet giants’ media revenue sharing. That’s what Meta’s president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, said in a written statement on Monday.
He had been invited to testify by summons to the House of Commons Parliamentary Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, but canceled his presence at the last minute. He was outraged by the change in title of the meeting to “Ongoing and continued use of intimidation and subversion tactics by web giants to evade regulation in Canada and around the world”.
It was Meta’s representatives in Canada, Kevin Chan and Rachel Curran, who showed up to testify in his place on Monday morning.
Google’s Canadian representatives had a hard time in March when they tried to explain why they had blocked access to news on the search engine to about a million users in Canada. They had finally backtracked.
“The Online News Act is based on a fundamentally flawed premise,” Clegg argued in his written statement posted on the company’s website and read by Kevin Chan in parliamentary committee. Meta does not unfairly take advantage of people sharing links to news content on our platform. »
Instead, he argues, media use Facebook and Instagram because it’s beneficial to them, while news content “has no particular value” to Meta.
“As such, we have made the difficult decision that if this flawed legislation is passed, we will have to end the availability of news content on Facebook and Instagram in Canada,” he says.
He claims that Facebook’s News Feed generated 1.9 billion clicks over the past year, a “free marketing” of $230 million.
Bill C-18 would force web giants, such as Meta and Google, to enter into agreements to share their revenues with the media whose content is used for free by these platforms. These web giants capture the vast majority of online revenue. This loss of ad revenue is hurting newsrooms. In recent months, Quebecor, Les Coops de l’information, Global News and Postmedia, which owns the Montreal Gazette, have announced cuts to their workforces.