Facebook is once again threatening to block news in a country in response to legislation that would force the company to pay for news.
Facebook has long allowed users to share and link to news. While the tech industry maintained that news publishers benefit the most, many publishers have increasingly chafed under the arrangement and decried it as unfair.
According to The Wall Street Journal., Canadian legislators are preparing to address the problem with new legislation requiring Facebook to pay publishers for content it uses
Facebook has pushed back against the legislation, accusing the Canadian government of not allowing it to testify before lawmakers. The company has made clear it may take drastic action if the bill passes:
Canada is incredibly important to Meta. Canadians will always be able to use Facebook to connect with friends and family, to help build communities and to grow their businesses. But faced with adverse legislation that is based on false assumptions that defy the logic of how Facebook works, we feel it is important to be transparent about the possibility that we may be forced to consider whether we continue to allow the sharing of news content in Canada.
The entire situation is similar to the standoff with Australia in early 2021. Australian lawmakers passed similar legislation, leading Facebook to suspend news sharing in that country. After significant fallout, Facebook finally acquiesced and worked out a deal with the Australian government.
Only time will tell how Facebook’s spat with Canada will go and whether it will end up on similar terms as Australia.