The objection of Meta Platforms Inc. to legislation that would require payment by its Facebook business and other internet corporations for journalistic output, according to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is founded on the fallacious premise that news has no economic value.
A representative of Meta claimed, during a Monday appearance before a parliamentary committee to discuss the Trudeau administration’s legislation, that news has social value but no economic benefit to the company.
The issue arises, said Rachel Curran, director of public policy at Meta in Canada, “if we are being asked to pay these publishers for content that has no economic value to us.”
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that “that argument that the internet giants are putting forward is not only flawed, it’s dangerous to our democracy, to our economy.”
Facebook’s opposition to charging for news content “shows how deeply irresponsible and out of touch they are,” Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa.
In accordance with a groundbreaking law adopted in Australia in 2021, the proposed legislation, known as bill C-18 or the “Online News Act,” would impose regulations requiring platforms like Facebook and Alphabet’s Google to develop business arrangements and compensate news publishers for their material.
If the bill is signed into law without changes, Google and Meta have both threatened to stop allowing Canadian users access to news stories on their platforms.
Their major complaint is that it would be unsustainable for their businesses to pay for links to news stories that are put on their websites.
Facebook claims that connections to news stories make up less than 3% of the content on users’ news feeds and that publishing work on the social media site is advantageous for journalists.
Trudeau stated, “Someone covering the tragedies in Bucha (Ukraine) is not attempting to increase likes on their Facebook page.