Facebook has reaffirmed its decision to block news in Canada after the country released draft rules on Friday for its Online News Act, a law to make internet giants pay for news.

The Act, which passed in June, is due to come into effect in December.

Complaints from Canada’s media sector that online giants were limiting their access to online advertising residue prompted the legislation.

Facebook announced in early June that it would remove news from its platform. Google followed suit, on 29 June, with plans to remove Canadian news from search results in Canada once the law comes into effect.

2023 Digital News Report by the University of Oxford found that the number of people solely reading their news on social media surpassed those finding news from websites or prints for the first time. 

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez tweeted in July: “Facebook and Google had 80% of the $12B online ad revenues in 2021. Tech giants need to pay their fair share and compensate news organizations for their vital work.”

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The Canadian independent budgetary watchdog estimates that news businesses could earn US$249m per annum from the passing of the legislation.

Google’s President of Global Affairs, Ken Walker, said in a 29 June blog post that “Bill C-18 has become law and remains unworkable.

“The Government has not given us reason to believe that the regulatory process will be able to resolve structural issues with the legislation.”

A similar ruling in Australia in 2021, which saw Meta and Alphabet Inc’s Google negotiate deals with media outlets, was largely successful – though a brief shutdown of Facebook newsfeeds did take place.

Meta’s decision has come under further scrutiny following the outbreak of wildfires in the country. News of the fire’s spread was restricted by the news ban.