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Canadian publishers, broadcasters, call on Competition Bureau to stop Meta from blocking news

Meta started blocking news content last week

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A group of Canadian news publishers and broadcasters want the Competition Bureau to investigate Meta’s blockage of news content.

News Media Canada, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, and CBC/Radio-Canada have launched a joint application to investigate what it calls “Meta’s abuse of its dominant position.”

The tech giant began the process to end new availability for Canadians last week, following through on a commitment it made with the passage of Bill C-18. Known as the Online News Act, it will force Meta and Google to pay Canadian publishers for sharing news content on their respective platforms.

“Meta’s practices are clearly designed to discipline Canadian news companies, prevent them from participating in and accessing the advertising market, and significantly reduce their visibility to Canadians on social media channels,” a joint statement from the three applicants reads.

“Through Facebook and Instagram, which together account for more than 70 percent of the online social media market in Canada, Meta effectively has substantial control over access to Canadian news.”

But Meta has argued that it’s been transparent about the ongoing concerns. In a statement, Rachel Curran, the head of public policy at  Meta Canada, said news outlets share content on Facebook and Instagram “voluntarily.”

“In contrast, we know the people using our platforms don’t come to us for news.”

While the act has passed, it has not yet gone into effect.

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