Postmedia Joins Ad Boycott of Facebook, Instagram Amid News Fight
In a move against Meta’s Canadian news blocking decision, the Postmedia Network announced last Friday that it will “pause” its direct advertising on Meta-owned platforms.
This action aligns Postmedia with numerous other groups, including the federal and Quebec governments, who are similarly boycotting Facebook and Instagram, with others such as Bell Media similarly joining in as well.
The federal Heritage Minister, Pablo Rodriguez, declared on Wednesday that his government would cease ad purchases on Facebook and Instagram while Meta continued to block Canadian news on its platforms.
This response was triggered by Meta’s reaction to the newly passed Online News Act. Echoing the federal sentiment, the Quebec government announced an identical stand, with Premier Francois Legault affirming that “no company is above the law.”
Introduced in June, the Online News Act mandates tech companies to negotiate commercial arrangements with news publishers, sharing revenue for news stories appearing on their platforms. However, companies that do not feature Canadian news stories are exempt. In an effort to circumvent this legislation, Meta started to block Canadian news from its platforms, and Google mentioned plans to do the same.
Andrew MacLeod, President and CEO of Postmedia, emphasized in a press release the importance of the new law. “The reactions following the passing of the law underscore its critical need at this time. We aim to collaborate to ensure all parties can negotiate fairly, level the playing field, and safeguard journalism in Canada,” he said, reports the National Post, which is part of Postmedia.
Postmedia, owner of more than 130 brands in the Canadian news sector, joins all significant Quebec media companies, including CBC, in boycotting Meta.
Media giants Quebecor, La Presse Cogeco, and CBC announced on Wednesday their decision to halt advertising on Facebook and Instagram until Meta agreed to unblock Canadian news. The Montreal Chamber of Commerce followed suit, and its CEO appealed to other businesses to join in sending a “clear signal” that “no company is above the law.”
Postmedia declined to disclose the amount it spends on direct advertising with Meta. This pause applies only to ads for Postmedia-owned brands, excluding ads placed by Postmedia for its own advertising clients.
Meta’s decision to block news from Facebook and Instagram drew sharp criticism from Rodriguez, who called Meta’s approach “unreasonable” and “irresponsible.” Meta spokesperson Lisa Laventure announced on Thursday that their news blocking would extend to all Canadian users “in the coming weeks,” citing the inability of the regulatory process to modify key problematic features of the legislation.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party of Canada is still advertising with Meta, alongside Bell Canada, while Rodriguez and other Liberal MPs still are leveraging Facebook and Threads to reach out to constituents.