Canada decides to stop selling itself on Facebook and Instagram

The standoff between Ottawa and Meta continues. The Canadian government announced Wednesday, July 5, that it would no longer buy ad space on Facebook and Instagram due to a dispute between it and Mark Zuckerberg’s group over the issue of online media compensation.

In June, Ottawa passed a law called “C-18” that requires major digital corporations to compensate Canadian media for content shared on their platforms. As a result, Meta blocked access to Canadian media for Facebook or Instagram users to avoid application of this law.

Facebook “chosen to be irresponsible, so we decided to suspend advertising”said Pablo Rodriguez, Canadian Heritage Minister on Wednesday. “Canadians will not be intimidated by American billionaires who want to damage our democracy”added Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, stressing that his government will not deviate from its law.

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The decision to suspend government ads will cost Facebook and Instagram about C$10 million a year, he said. This money will be invested in other advertising campaigns, Ottawa explained.

industry in crisis

Shortly after the federal announcement, Quebec Premier François Legault tweeted that the province was also halting advertising on Facebook and Instagram, and Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante tweeted that she had made the same decision for his city on Facebook had.

The new law aims to support the information sector, which is in crisis in Canada, in particular due to the loss of advertising revenue. More than 450 Canadian media outlets have closed since 2008, according to the Department of Heritage.

According to Mr. Rodriguez, 80% of advertising revenue in Canada – or nearly C$10 billion in 2022 – is now generated by Google and Facebook, similar numbers to other countries.

In the United States, California is currently working on a bill similar to Canada’s. Elsewhere in the world, the European Union has introduced a “kinship law” that requires platforms to pay press publishers for their content, which also allows these groups to sell advertising space by attracting readers, media owners say.

Le Monde with AP and AFP

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