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Tech Giants Continue Test Bans on Canadian News Content In Response to the Online News Act

What’s happening to Canadian news content?

Many Canadians have begun to see Canadian news content blocked by Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, and Google. Content from U Multicultural is now blocked for some users. 

The social media and tech giants are blocking access to Canadian news content in response to the federal government’s Online News Act, Bill C-18, requiring tech companies to pay Canadian media for linking to or repurposing content online. Bill C-18 received Royal Assent on June 22, 2023. According to Canadian Heritage, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will oversee the Online News Act, including the bargaining, negotiation and external final-offer arbitration processes between platforms and news businesses. It will also create a code of conduct to support fairness and transparency in bargaining.

Tests of blocks, which began last month, will affect between one to five percent of Canadian Facebook or Instagram users enrolled in testing and run for several weeks. According to Rachel Curran, the head of public policy for Meta Canada, different content may be blocked for different users on different platforms, and the test would mean a user would not see links to articles or videos from news publishers in their feed and would be blocked from sharing such content. In the case of Instagram, it’s not just news links or blocked posts but the entire page. 

California-based Google has already started to remove news links for Canadians from its search, news and discover products. As the world’s largest search engine, the elimination of Canadian news from Google would have a significant impact on users and news publishers alike. 

Australia faced similar opposition from Meta and Google back in February 2021. On February 17, 2201, the Australian Parliamentary passed the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, designed to have large tech companies like Meta and Google pay local news publishers for news content made available on their platforms. In response, Facebook blocked Australian users from viewing or sharing news content on its platform, a move highly criticized by the Australian government. However, after some amendments in the law a few days later and with Royal assent on March 2, 2021, the platform removed the ban, and both Facebook and Google negotiated deals with Australian news companies. 

But where can you find U Multicultural’s content?

The best way to see articles, videos, and podcasts is by visiting our website, available on both desktops and mobile (https://u-channel.ca/). We update content regularly, including Civic Journalism segments Civic Platform and Community Hour, news articles and videos on events and updates in Winnipeg and Manitoba, music and various programming available on the websites radio stream U Radio, and yearly initiatives and projects, including Ethno Fest, We Stand Together, and the Indigenous Languages Series. You can bookmark our page on your browser, and through your browser’s settings, you can add a shortcut to U Multicultural on your Home screen. You can also sign up for our newsletter to set up to date. 

If you’re interested in videos and shorts, you can find U Multicultural on YouTube (@UMulticulturalChannel) or TikTok (@umulticultural). 

You can find U Multicultural on Linkedin (u-multicultural-channel) and Twitter (u_multicultural) for prominent social media sites. Although content is blocked for some users, you can still see updates on Facebook (umulticultural) and Instagram (@u_multicultural)

You can find all links on our Linktr.ee: https://linktr.ee/uchannel


More info on the Online News Act from Canadian Heritage:

  • Between 2008 and 2020, overall revenue for broadcast television, radio, newspapers and magazines fell by nearly $6 billion. At least one-third of Canadian journalism jobs disappeared between 2010 and 2016. Since 2008, 474 news media outlets have closed in 335 communities across Canada.
  • Digital platforms benefit from sharing news content on their platforms, both directly (advertising near news) and indirectly (user engagement, data refinement, subsequent targeted advertising). This legislation requires dominant platforms to compensate Canadian news businesses fairly for their content by addressing the bargaining imbalance between the two parties.
  • The Online News Act supports small news outlets by allowing them to negotiate compensation as a unit through collective bargaining. This feature can mitigate the bargaining power imbalances between digital platforms and the smaller, diverse news businesses in Canada.
  • There are four ways for news businesses to be eligible: as a Qualified Canadian Journalism Organization under the Income Tax Act; as a licensed campus, community or Indigenous broadcaster; as a Canadian organization producing news content of general interest; and as an Indigenous news outlet

– Ryan Funk, U Multicultural

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