Facebook Threatens to Pull News Links from Platform in Both Canada and the US

Facebook has warned that they could block news sharing in both Canada and the US. It seems they don’t like paying ransoms.

Both Canada and the US are currently actively considering link tax legislation. Both are built on the completely insane idea that linking to material is somehow “stealing” content and is subject to compensation. While big media outlets are content with forging ahead with flipping some very core concepts of copyright on its head, it seems that Facebook’s parent company, Meta, isn’t exactly a huge fan of going along with the idea of splashing the media with money for no real reason at all.

In the US, the off again, on again, off again, and now apparently on again (?) bill known ironically as the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) is currently winding its way through the halls of government in a rather roller-coaster fashion. Last week, in response, Meta said that it is actively considering blocking news links in the US in response. From The Verge:

Facebook warns it could ban news in the US if Congress passes a bill that would require the platform to negotiate with and compensate publishers for their content. Andy Stone, Meta’s head of policy communications, said on Twitter that Facebook will “be forced to consider removing news” from Facebook if the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) is passed. Facebook previously threatened to block news in Canada and Australia when similar laws were proposed.

“If Congress passes an ill-considered journalism bill as part of national security legislation, we will be forced to consider removing news from our platform altogether rather than submit to government-mandated negotiations that unfairly disregard any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic and subscription,” Stone writes. “The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act fails to recognize the key fact: publishers and broadcasters put their content on our platform themselves because it benefits their bottom line — not the other way around.”

Shortly after warning the US that it was actively considering the idea, Meta also similarly warned Canadians that the same thing could happen in Canada. In Canada, the Link Tax legislation is known as Bill C-18. The bill would shovel huge sums of money to the largest and most heavily subsidized players while leaving everyone else fighting over the smallest of scraps afterwards that barely moves the needle of their financial future. After bullying and harassing activities for the better part of two years from the Heritage Ministry, Heritage Minister, Pablo Rodriguez, whined that Facebook is intimidating Canadians for threatening to make the logical move of pulling news links in Canada. From St. Catherines Standard:

OTTAWA – Federal Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez accused Meta on Thursday of trying to intimidate Canadians with threats of pulling news content from its Facebook platform, following the adoption of Bill C-18 in the House of Commons.

“Canadians don’t like being intimidated,“ Rodriguez told reporters in Ottawa. ”Me, if I were Facebook, I would change my strategy. It won’t pass with Canadians.“

The minister was reacting to a statement on Wednesday from Facebook’s parent company, Meta, saying the bill “forces us to consider removing news from Facebook in Canada rather than being compelled to submit to government-mandated negotiations that do not properly account for the value we provide publishers.”

The comments come after a similar warning was posted back in October where they said that the bill might make them consider blocking all news links in Canada. So, at this point, Meta has warned the Canadian government at least twice now that this is something they are actively considering in light of the bill. There was also a partial warning back in July when Meta said that they had serious concerns with the legislation and are actively considering their next moves. So, their messaging has been consistent throughout the year.

In November, news came out that Facebook was forced to lay off 13% of its work force. As that happened, advertisers were reportedly preparing for a recession, meaning that ad revenue could be lower in the first parts of next year. So, while Meta may be seen as an organization that has unlimited money, their revenues aren’t exactly looking so good for the time being as they look to cut costs. Spending frivolously on things that give the company no value doesn’t exactly make the most business sense, so it’s little wonder these threats are being made.

While Rodriguez might like living in his own reality where everyone agrees with him, real life could very easily come crashing in. One can only imagine how angry he’ll get when his lobbyist back scheme backfires spectacularly and traffic to news outlets plummets once those media companies get cut off from Facebook.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: