Bill C-18: Meta doesn’t rule out cutting Facebook in Canada

The giant Meta, owner of Facebook, has not ruled out partially blocking access to its popular social network in Canada if Bill C-18, aimed at obliging social networks to compensate the media, is passed.

At least, that’s what Rachel Curran, Meta’s public policy director in Canada, suggested at a meeting of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security Tuesday in Ottawa.

“We are still examining this law. We were not aware of its scope until it was recently filed, but I have to say that we have several concerns,” first mentioned Curran before Canadian MPs.

Asked by Conservative MP Raquel Dancho if Meta could pose the same threat to Canada as it did in Australia when the company went so far as to separate media sites from Facebook over its dispute with the government, the leader conceded that no option was out of the question be in this moment.

“We will examine the details to determine what our response will be,” said Curran.

“In our view, when media companies link to content on their platform, they derive significant value from it, and we do not control when, how, or to what extent they post news on our platform,” she added, explaining that Meta’s is “Committed to finding innovative solutions for the sustainability of the media industry in Canada.”

A Twitter representative testifying before the same committee wondered if the Bill C-18 social network just bought by Elon Musk was affected.

“Twitter, like the media industry, doesn’t make much money from news. In fact, we don’t have anyone in Canada selling media content,” said Michele Austin, public policy manager for Twitter in Canada and the United States.

Like Canada with its Bill C-18, Australia passed its own law last year to force Facebook and other companies like Google to pay for media content shown on their platforms. The company responded by inadvertently shutting down access to both Facebook media sites and government sites, angering the country.

A few days later, an agreement was reached between the company and the Australian government.

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