Feds and Quebec Pull Ads from Facebook and Instagram

The federal and Quebec governments have decided to pull advertising on Meta-owned platforms, Facebook and Instagram. This decision comes amidst escalating tensions over legislation that would compel web giants to share revenues with news publishers.

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez announced the decision, stating that Facebook’s refusal to negotiate a deal to compensate news media companies for their content was “unreasonable” and “irresponsible”, reports The National Post.

Quebec Premier François Legault echoed this sentiment, announcing that his government would also stop advertising on Facebook in solidarity with the media.

However, the Liberal Party of Canada will continue to advertise on Meta-owned platforms, according to spokesperson Parker Lund. The party has reportedly spent nearly $15,000 on over 1,000 ads in the past month.

Rodriguez clarified that the government’s decision only targets Meta platforms and not Google, as the latter has shown a willingness to negotiate a deal.

The showdown stems from the Online News Act, formerly known as Bill C-18, which received royal assent on June 22. The Act would require Meta and Google to reach commercial deals with news publishers to share revenues for news stories that appear on their platforms. In response to the bill’s passing, Meta began blocking news content on its Facebook and Instagram platforms to certain users.

Despite Google’s threat to remove Canadian news links from its products when the act comes into force in around six months, Rodriguez remains optimistic that a resolution can be reached.

In a show of solidarity with the government, Quebec’s largest media conglomerate Quebecor and radio operator Cogeco have also announced that they are pulling advertising from Meta platforms.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer has estimated that under the Online News Act, Google and Meta could end up funding more than 30 per cent of newsroom costs, just under $330 million a year. However, if Google and Meta remove news from their platforms, they will no longer be covered under the Online News Act.

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