2nd Boycott Against Meta Fails to Materialize, Embarrassing Bill C-18 Supporters Further

The attempted boycott by lobbyist group, FRIENDS, appears to have failed. Meta is continuing unimpeded.

Bill C-18 supporters are continuing to rack up the losses. Last month, the government and Bill C-18 supporters attempted to get Canadian advertisers to boycott Meta in an attempt to get the platforms to back down from blocking news links. On the same day the boycott kicked off, the Liberal party refused to participate in the very same boycott they were attempting to kick off. The only organizations that joined were the handful of companies that were already heavily invested in the cause – amounting to the most minimal financial contributions in the first place.

Obviously, the boycott failed as few companies joined and those who did join weren’t able to inflict any noticeable financial harm on Meta in the first place. The course Meta is on was certainly not altered by any of this. As a result, the increasingly desperate supporters tried to conjure up another last ditch effort plan.

One lobbyist organization, FRIENDS, launched a second boycott. This time, they wanted to get users to stop using the platform for 48 hours, spanning between August 23rd and the 24th. This under the premise that the 48 hours of users not using Meta platforms will seem like an “eternity” to Meta, compelling them to just give up their position and restore news links.

The boycott faced an extremely uphill battle from the beginning. Few Canadians are even remotely invested in this fight as repeated studies concluded that news is far from the biggest reason people use a platform like Facebook in the first place. In fact, some anecdotal evidence from others suggest that with news links disappearing from Facebook, users are finding that the platform experience is actually improving.

Of course, that’s just, you know, evidence. For organizations like FRIENDS, news content is the only reason people use a platform like Facebook. Everyone is heavily invested in this fight and are practically unanimously in support of their cause. For some news outlets out there, in their minds, Canadians are furious at Meta for “stealing” from the platforms while being upset that Meta would “censor” the news on top of it all. As a result, in their reality bubble, all of Canada will just come together on this boycott and the platforms will just surrender their position and start throwing free money towards the news organizations because, gosh darn it, they just have no choice but to do everything they say.

Reality, for reasons that are blatantly obvious to anyone who hasn’t drank the big media Kool-Aid, came crashing in. It’s the 25th now and throughout this whole thing, there doesn’t appear to be any evidence that anything significant happened in the last few days. There’s no massive headlines showing a significant drop in user activity that we were able to see. What’s more, Meta appears to be unchanged in its position. In fact, the only evidence that there was even a boycott that happened at all was on the original FRIENDS campaign site which reads as follows today:

Thank you to the thousands of Canadians who participated!

That’s… it. The rest of the campaign page is largely unchanged. In fact, for most Canadians, they didn’t even know there was a boycott that even existed in the first place. The people I spoke to personally – who either know about what’s going on with Bill C-18 or don’t otherwise know that there was even a Bill C-18 – had no clue that this even existed. One person I spoke to only knew that news links were blocked and had no idea why (which I happily explained the broad strokes of the situation to). My own anecdotal evidence had no surprises. There’s no unanimity in this debate – not even close. This contrary to what supporters of the legislation would have you believe.

Either way, all signs that I see on my end suggest that this boycott was a total failure. It’s not really a surprise it failed as all the evidence I had on hand suggested that this was unlikely to succeed in the first place. So, it’s safe to say that you can add this to the incredibly long list of failures for Bill C-18 supporters.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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