Canada has unveiled a new proposed online news law that would require Meta (formerly Facebook) and Google to pay a minimum of 4% of their annual revenue to Canadian news organizations for featuring links to news articles. The draft regulations specify that Google would need to pay around $127 million and Meta approximately $46 million each year to support the news industry in Canada.
Meta has already blocked Canadians from accessing news content on its platforms, claiming that the law is impractical for its operations. A Meta spokesperson stated that the proposed rules would have no impact, while Rachel Curran, Head of Public Policy in Canada, affirmed that the regulations would not change their decision to stop providing news in Canada, citing the law's flawed assumption that Meta unfairly benefits from news content shared on its platforms.
Google also plans to exclude news from its search results in Canada and argues that the law does not apply to its operations.
The government officials admitted that the draft regulations were not shared with the companies in advance. Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge emphasized the importance of digital platforms acting responsibly and supporting the dissemination of news that benefits both the platforms and Canadians, as Canadians heavily rely on these platforms for news and information. The online news law is expected to be implemented in December.
The Canadian government's intention behind this move is to assist local news outlets, but it is facing resistance from major tech companies. It remains to be seen how this confrontation between the tech giants and the Canadian government will unfold as the law's enactment approaches in December.