CRTC Announces Online News Act Timeline vs Meta and Google

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on Thursday outlined how it will implement the Online News Act and the latter’s bargaining framework between Meta and Google.

The basic timeline will be as follows:

Fall 2023

  • The CRTC will hold a public consultation.
  • The CRTC will also issue a call for proposals for an independent auditor, who will prepare an annual report on the impact of the Act on Canada’s digital news marketplace.

Starting Summer 2024

  • The CRTC will publish the framework and code of conduct.
  • The CRTC will also recruit qualified independent arbitrators, consider applications for eligibility from news organizations, and begin information gathering.

Late 2024/Early 2025

  • Once eligible news organizations and arbitrators are in place, mandatory bargaining can begin.

The CRTC says it will oversee negotiations once the framework has been created, and also publish a yearly report created by an independent third-party to detail the impact of the Online News Act.

Known as Bill C-18, the Online News Act wants Meta and Google to pay for links when users share news on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. In response, Meta and Google announced they will block Canadian news to adhere to the law. Meta has already blocked Canadian news on Facebook and Instagram.

Looking at the timeline, it seems bargaining won’t take place until late 2024 or early 2025. That means news publishers that have seen a drop in traffic from losing access to Facebook and Instagram users will have to wait a year before getting ‘unblocked’, unless some other side deals are made.

Readers of news sites will have to go back to manually visiting websites or finding other ways to seek out information, aside from Facebook or Instagram.

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