CPAC, Press Progress Loses Access to Instagram As Meta Tests Continue

Two more news organizations lost access to their Instagram accounts. Those are CPAC and Press Progress.

It seems Meta’s tests are continuing. Early last month, Meta announced that they would begin testing news links blocking on their platforms. All this in response to the passage of Bill C-18. This outcome was long warned about, but those warnings were dismissed as “noise”, Big Tech shilling, and just a “bluff” that would never happen because platforms depend too much on news to let that happen (despite all the evidence to the contrary).

Of course, just because there was a denial of reality and evidence doesn’t necessarily mean that there won’t be consequences of these actions. Earlier, we reported on reports coming in saying that organizations are losing access to their Instagram accounts. The reports are indicative of the damage caused by Bill C-18. Combine that with the new advertisements on Facebook saying that news links from Canadian sources will no longer be supported in Canada, and the situation starts looking pretty dire.

Despite the full throat support from large media companies for this bill still, panic has already set in as they beg advertisers to “pledge” 25% of advertising spending and beg their readers to install their apps and bookmark their pages before they lose access to social media. It’s quite astonishing to witness large media companies continue to be delusional in that things will work out and call on government to stick to their guns on this, yet take actions that fully admit that there are consequences of their actions. That alone tells you everything you need to know about the intelligence of those running these organizations. Many of these news organizations really are run by morons.

Regardless, it seems that reports are continuing to roll in about news organizations losing access to their Instagram. One of those reports is about a pretty large news organization: CPAC. For American’s reading this wondering what CPAC is, it’s basically the Canadian equivalent of CSPAN. On Twitter, CPAC posted a screen shot showcasing how they lost access to their account:

CPAC’s independent coverage of the people and events shaping Canada’s democracy may now be harder to find on Facebook and Instagram.

The link leads to a statement proclaiming that Meta is attempting to “block access to unfiltered Canadian democracy” which really says a lot about the organizations ability to take personal responsibility for the situation:

Meta is trying to turn off your access to Canadian democracy.

As part of Meta’s ongoing attempts to block Canadian news in response to Bill C-18 (the federal Online News Act), users of Facebook and Instagram may now find it harder to access CPAC’s independent coverage of the people and events shaping Canada’s democracy. Canadians can continue to stay informed by bookmarking on their web browser and following us on Twitter @CPAC_TV.

On Tuesday morning, CPAC staff lost access to the organization’s Instagram grid, which displayed a message stating that “[p]eople in Canada can’t see your content. This account is a news publication. Content from news publications can’t be viewed in Canada in response to Canadian government legislation.” As Meta is testing the news blocking feature across a number of media organizations, access for viewers may be intermittent across both Instagram and Facebook.

“At CPAC we are steadfast in our belief that Canadians are entitled to unfiltered access to their democracy on all platforms,” said CPAC President & CEO Christa Dickenson. “As big tech companies experiment with blocking news in Canada, we will continue to do everything we can to connect Canadians to our content via CPAC’s broadcast channel, website and on other social media outlets.”

All this, because, you know, it’s not their fault they advocated for a law that pushed Meta into this position. No, it’s never the fault of the organization that pushed such a law. It’s clearly all Meta’s fault that they are choosing to comply with the law in this manner. It’s all the platforms fault here because the news organizations are always blameless here.

It wasn’t just CPAC that got hit recently. We also learned that Press Progress also lost access to their Instagram:

Our nonprofit model is rooted in the idea everyone should have free access to public interest journalism in a democracy.

We never asked anyone to compensate us for sharing links to our website. We only ask readers who value what we do to support our work.

And yet here we are.

These are the organizations that actually do deserve a lot of sympathy. They never asked for this law, didn’t advocate for it, and sometimes even attacked the law. Yet, they are the ones getting dragged into this by seeing their access to social media getting cut off. Like others have said already, they didn’t deserve this. What’s worse is that a lot of these smaller news organizations also depend heavily on social media to reach their audience in the first place. So, if anyone news organizations is going to get hurt in all of this the most, it’s the smaller players who so often depend on the platforms to grow their audience. They are in the process of getting completely screwed in all of this.

One thing that is notable in this is that these actions are a bit more extreme than what we had originally envisioned. What we envisioned was a system where the platform detects if a link leads to a news source and blocking the ability to post it while shutting down visibility of older posts. Cutting off access to accounts entirely is a much bigger step to take. though more thorough, it’s also much more damaging to the media companies and small businesses in question.

At any rate, the damage is already being felt with Bill C-18. This isn’t even taking into account the cancelled agreements worth millions that have already happened. All these is just Meta conducting tests. When the shoe finally drops, it’s very likely that the damage will make what we are seeing seem like small potatoes by comparison. All signs continue to point to this being a looming disaster for the news sector – and little can be done to stop it at this point.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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