Blackout of news by Meta ‘anticompetitive': Canadian media

Blackout of news by Meta ‘anticompetitive': Canadian media

Publishers, broadcasters demand Competition Bureau investigation

By Barry Ellsworth

TRENTON, Canada (AA) - Canada media groups labeled Meta’s decision to block news content on Facebook and Instagram as “anticompetitive” and demanded an investigation Tuesday.

Friction was ignited after Bill C-18 mandated tech firms like Meta and Google to share revenue with Canadian news outlets for news posted on its media platforms. In response, Meta blocked news content in Canada, but Google has yet to follow suit.

"Meta's practices are clearly designed to discipline Canadian news companies, prevent them from participating in and accessing the advertising market, and significantly reduce their visibility to Canadians on social media channels," said a statement from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters and News Media Canada. The latter of those groups represent newspapers.

"Meta's anticompetitive conduct, which has attracted the attention of regulators around the world, will strengthen its already dominant position in advertising and social media distribution and harm Canadian journalism,” it said.

The Canadian groups urged the Competition Bureau to investigate Meta’s action.

"The applicants ask the Competition Bureau to use its investigative and prosecutorial tools to protect competition and prohibit Meta from continuing to block Canadians' access to news content,” according to the statement.

The bureau was set up by the government but is an independent watchdog that investigates acts that hinder competition. And it has teeth. The bureau fined Canada Bread CAN$50 million (US$37 million for price fixing in June.

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