Facebook and Instagram to block news in Canada

vtqhtr413

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On Friday, Meta announced that no news posts will be available on Facebook and Instagram in Canada, a few weeks after testing its ability to follow through with the change. The decision comes in response to Canada's Online News Act, which passed through Canada's Parliament and intends to "ensure fair revenue sharing between digital platforms and news outlets," according to the Canadian government. In practice, it would require tech giants like Meta and Google to pay Canadian news outlets for the content those news outlets put on their sites. Since Meta and Google make money off of these posts and, for the most part, local news organizations see very little of that revenue. Moreover, these social media platforms disrupted the business models of news outlets so much so that some organizations are encouraging those very platforms to help the now-struggling newsrooms.
 

vtqhtr413

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Yeah... but they caved here...

They now pay...
How so? If they discontinue news placements on their platforms, they will no longer have to pay anything, at least that's my understanding, if they (social media) continue to place news on their platforms, then they will have to pay much more than they do currently?
 
Nov 1, 2022
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This is the first time I've heard of this, and even if it doesn't affect me, I have to say it makes a lot of sense. Meta and Google shouldn't be able to just "hang around the finish line" and capitalize on (snatch) other people's hard work for free...
 
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Gandalf_The_Grey

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AdGuard VPN Blog: Don’t let Meta block your news: How to stay informed in Canada despite the ban
Since August 1, Meta has begun the process of “ending news availability in Canada.” This means that Canadians can no longer view or share any news links on Meta platforms, whether they are from local or foreign sources. Specifically, they no longer see the news articles, broadcasts, stories and reels that media outlets around the world post on either Facebook or Instagram.

Meta's drastic move to effectively cut off many of its Canadian users from their preferred news source — about 34% of Canadians say they get their news from Facebook — is its way of retaliating against Bill C-18, also known as Canada's Online News Act. The Act forces tech giants like Meta and Google to pay news publishers for using their content on their platforms.
Ways to sidestep the restrictions

All in all, there are several other ways to bypass the news ban in Canada. None of them is foolproof, and some may be more effective than others. Here are some of them:
  • Screenshotting news: While Meta blocks links to Canadian news sources, screenshots of articles from the same news sources may slip through its algorithms. However, it cannot be ruled out that Meta could attempt to detect and delete screenshots using its image recognition technology if it really wants to.
  • Tracking journalists' personal pages: There have been reports that some Canadian journalists working for news outlets have turned their personal pages into news sources. However, Meta may get wind of their rather simple replacement strategy and ban them as well.
  • Using alternative platforms: If you prefer to get your news from social media rather than going directly to the website of the news outlet, then you might consider switching from Facebook and Instagram to their competitors, such as Twitter (X), TikTok, or Reddit.
  • Go directly to the websites or apps of the news outlets: Perhaps the best and most obvious solution will be to visit the news sites you trust directly. This way you won’t have to depend on any intermediaries, such as search engines or social media.
  • Using a VPN: You can use a VPN, such as AdGuard VPN, to access news on Instagram and Facebook as if from a different country, for example, the US or the UK. The added benefit to this method is that the VPN will also encrypt your traffic and protect it from being snooped on by your ISP.
It's sad to see that regular users in Canada are caught in the crosshairs of the war between the government, news publishers, and big tech companies. Especially unfortunate is the timing of this back-and-forth - it comes as devastating wildfires have ravaged Canada's western province of British Columbia and the Northwest Territories. People who normally rely on Facebook for emergency news updates may find it difficult to adjust to the new reality and turn to other sources of information.

Regardless of who is right and wrong in the Canada vs. Google and Meta dispute, we hope they find a way out of this impasse. After all, when people's lives are on the line, the last thing you want is for the big guns to be bickering over some laws. But again, it's not like users have always been the primary concern of the big tech companies. Rather it's been revenue or the threat of losing it, as in this case.
 

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