Canada decides to no longer sell itself on Facebook and Instagram

The standoff continues between Ottawa and Meta. The Canadian government announced on Wednesday (5 July) that it will no longer buy advertising space on Facebook and Instagram following the dispute between it and Mark Zuckerberg’s group over online media compensation.

Ottawa adopted a law in June, known as C-18, which requires digital giants to compensate Canadian media for their content shared on their platforms, under penalty of binding arbitration. In response to this law, Meta blocked access to Canadian media for Facebook or Instagram users, to avoid having to enforce it.

Facebook “he decided to be irresponsible so we therefore decided to stop the ads”Pablo Rodriguez, Canada’s heritage minister, explained in reaction on Wednesday. “Canadians will not be intimidated by American billionaires who want to harm our democracy”added Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, stressing that his government will not go back on his law.

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The government’s decision to suspend ads will cost Facebook and Instagram about C$10 million (€6.9 million) a year, it said. This money will be invested in other advertising campaigns, Ottawa explained.

Sector in crisis

Shortly after the federal announcement, Quebec Premier François Legault tweeted that the province was also suspending advertising on Facebook and Instagram, and Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante announced on Twitter an identical decision for her city on Facebook.

The new law aims to support Canada’s struggling news sector, particularly due to the loss of advertising revenue. According to the Department of Heritage, more than 450 Canadian media outlets have closed since 2008.

According to Minister Pablo Rodriguez, 80% of advertising revenue in Canada – or almost C$10 billion in 2022 – is now collected by Google and Facebook, similar figures to other countries.

In the United States, California is currently drafting a bill similar to Canada’s. Elsewhere in the world, the European Union has established a “bordering on the right” which requires platforms to pay print publishers for their content, which, by attracting readers, also allows these giants to sell advertising space, according to the press bosses.

Le Monde with AP and AFP