Liberal Party, Bell Still Advertising on Facebook, Despite News Fight

liberal party ads

Earlier this week the federal government and Quebec government pulled its ads from Facebook and Instagram, over the ongoing war against Meta and the newly-minted Online News Act.

The Online News Act, previously known as Bill C-18, has ignited a conflict between tech giants Meta and Google and the Canadian government. The Act, which received royal assent on June 22, mandates Meta and Google to strike commercial agreements with news publishers to share revenues for news content displayed on their platforms. In retaliation to the Act’s approval, Meta has started to block news content on its Facebook and Instagram platforms for certain users.

Despite Google’s warning to eliminate Canadian news links from its services when the Act becomes effective in approximately six months, Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez maintains a hopeful stance that a compromise can be achieved.

In a display of support for the government’s position, Quebec’s largest media conglomerate, Quebecor, and radio operator Cogeco have declared their decision to withdraw advertising from Meta’s platforms.

Montreal-based Bell Media also joined in earlier this week as well on pulling ads off Meta. 

Well, despite the claims of the federal government and Bell removing Facebook ads, they are still present.

For starters, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party of Canada is still actively advertising on Facebook, noted University of Ottawa Law Professor, Michael Geist.

“The claims about Bill C-18 and fighting for democracy might be a bit more credible if the Liberal party weren’t still advertising on Facebook, @pablorodriguez wasn’t posting on Facebook, and other government MPs didn’t race to create Threads accounts and link to news articles,” said Geist on Saturday morning.

The Liberal Party of Canada did disclose it would still advertise on the platform earlier this week, however. So it’s not exactly a surprise but it does send a mixed message. The amount spent was said to be about $15,000 on 1,000 ads in the past month.

Meta’s ad transparency site shows the Liberal Party of Canada has 22 active ads on Facebook, with some ads even showcasing the Prime Minster’s picture front and centre.

Meanwhile, Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez remains active on Facebook, sharing his most recent post as of Friday. Other Liberal MPs have signed up for Instagram’s newest Threads app, while others also are sharing news links on Facebook, contradicting the Online News Act.

rodriguez facebook

As for Bell Media, its parent company Bell Canada still has active ads on Facebook as well and also continues to use the platform, with its latest post as of Saturday morning.

bell ads meta

Bell Canada currently has 270 active ads, launched in July 2023, pushing the company’s products and events.

Again, Geist makes his point clear that it’s hard to take the Prime Minister and his Liberal Party seriously in their efforts to push the Online News Act, when they are still advertising on Meta platforms.

“Unfortunately, Facebook has just refused to recognize any sort of responsibility it might have in contributing to a democracy,” said Trudeau earlier this week.

“We’re not backing down on this, this goes to the core of a free and informed society that is able to take responsible decisions in a democracy,” he added speaking to CTV News.

“Citizens need to have access to quality, local news, quality content, quality journalism, that is properly paid. Facebook doesn’t want to recognize the hard work of professional journalists across the country is something that undermines the very fabric of our democracy,” explained the Prime Minister.

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