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Meta to end news access in Canada after media bill passes

Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has confirmed that it will end access to news content for all users in Canada after the federal government passed a bill that requires digital giants to pay for news content on their platforms.

The Online News Act, also known as Bill C-18, received royal assent on Thursday, following its approval by the House of Commons and the Senate. The bill aims to support a struggling Canadian news sector that has seen hundreds of publications closed in the last decade.

Meta said in a statement that it will begin to block news for Canadian users over the next few months and that the change will not be immediate. The company said it has repeatedly shared its concerns about the bill, which it claims is unreasonable and unworkable.

“The changes affecting news content will not otherwise impact Meta’s products and services in Canada,” it added.

The new law requires digital giants to make fair commercial deals with Canadian outlets for the news and information that is shared on their platforms or face binding arbitration. It builds on Australia’s New Media Bargaining Code, a world first, aimed at making Google and Meta pay for news content on their platforms.

Google, another critic of the Online News Act, has previously said it is considering a similar move. The company has proposed amendments to the bill but said none of its concerns have been addressed so far.

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