Canadian News Media Block Meta’s Ads–About News Blocking
In the latest saga of the ongoing dispute over the Online News Act, also known as Bill C-18, several Quebec-based radio stations and news publications have declined to run Meta’s advertisements concerning its response to the proposed legislation.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, initiated an ad campaign aimed at informing Canadians of their decision to block the viewing and sharing of news content on its platforms in response to Bill C-18. However, this move has been met with resistance from several Quebec media outlets, who refuse to broadcast these advertisements, reports The Globe and Mail.
The controversial Bill C-18 is aimed at redirecting advertising revenues from big tech platforms back to the Canadian news industry. Critics like Martin Champoux, the Bloc Québécois’s heritage critic, argue that Meta’s decision to advertise its plans on platforms it aims to financially cut off by not conforming to the new legislation is an act of arrogance.
Cogeco, the owner of multiple Quebec radio stations, is among those refusing to host Meta’s advertisements.
“We have decided to refrain from using Meta’s advertising that takes a stand against the laws in Canada,” Cogeco spokeswoman Diane Patenaude commented. Quebecor, another media giant, is also refusing to carry Meta’s ads, with Vice President of Communications Véronique Mercier asserting that their media outlets are reacting to Meta’s actions regarding Bill C-18.
Too many Canadian media outlets have blurred the line between editorial and business on Bill C-18, offering a self-interested, biased perspective on the law. Blocking these ads will only fuel that narrative and undermine trust in the media.https://t.co/22HNFCxkBF
— Michael Geist (@mgeist) July 21, 2023
This defiance by the media outlets isn’t isolated. Other advertisers, including Quebecor, Cogeco, and the cities of Quebec and Montreal, have suspended ads on Meta platforms, as well as Bell Media. Corus Entertainment also announced that it’s suspending advertising with Meta and encouraged partners to follow suit.
Paul Deegan, President and CEO of News Media Canada, has suggested that Meta engage with the government on the Online News Act instead of running advertisements about it. This sentiment is echoed by Michael Geist, the University of Ottawa’s Canada Research Chair in Internet Law, who warned that the refusal to host Meta’s ads concerning the Online News Act could fuel public distrust in media.
While the federal government says negotiations are ongoing with Google still, it seems its talks with Meta have been cut off. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government will ‘not back down’ against Meta.
Fate loves irony, seriously. News companies blocking ads about upcoming news blocking. What’s next? #inception