Meta has announced it will be restricting Canadian users access to news through Facebook and Instagram, after the government approved a law that requires Big Tech to pay news publishers. 

The Online News Act, which is set to come into effect in six months, was passed by the Senate upper chamber on 22 June.

It comes as the media industry in Canada calls for stronger regulation surrounding how tech companies use news on their sites. 

Social media giant Facebook, recently rebranded to Meta, claimed that news was profitable for its business model.

In a statement on 22 June, Meta said: “Today, we are confirming that news availability will be ended on Facebook and Instagram for all users in Canada prior to the Online News Act taking effect.”

According to the legislation, Big Tech companies such as Facebook will be forced to agree on a commercial deal with news publishers – paying a fee for the content they use.

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By GlobalData

Google has slammed the bill as “unworkable” and has called for the government to work with them to address certain issues. 

Alphabet-owned Google claims the law unfairly puts a price tag on news story links in search results – which could result in outlets not producing news getting paid. The search engine giant said the law should only cover businesses that produce news. 

The Canadian government said the new bill was important to ensure “fairness in the Canadian digital news market”.

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, who passed the bill in 2022, released a statement on Thursday addressing the new act. 

“If the government can’t stand up for Canadians against tech giants, who will?” Rodriguez said.