February 26, 2021

Facebook stops sharing news in Australia. Is Canada Next?

In a possible preview of what’s coming to Canada, Australia’s largest media company blocked Facebook’s users from sharing news on its platform on the same day it signed a deal with Google.

Australia has a global drive by the media and governments to force digital sites to share the advertising money they raise by using the news industry. Media companies have been losing significant advertising revenue for decades, with most of them going online.

The federal government of Canada, which has been working on rules for paying digital sites to media companies, is launching a new round of consultations with media companies and digital sites in light of global developments, senior government sources told the Star on Wednesday.

The Australian government is expected to begin the process of formulating its new rules this week. Google and Facebook have been opposed, but as of Wednesday, it is unclear how they will respond. Now the lines should finally be drawn.

Kieran Levitt Discuss Google’s fight with Australia

Facebook, one of the world’s largest news-sharing sites, has dropped a bomb blast on Australia in response to the rules, saying it would stop allowing the country’s users to share messages on its platform.

“The proposed legislation basically misunderstands the relationship between our site and the publishers who use it to share news content. It faces a clear choice for us: try to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia,” a statement from Facebook said.

“With a heavy heart, we choose the latter.”

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Meanwhile, Google has entered into strike agreements with media companies and on the same day as Facebook’s decision, announced an agreement with News Corp, a floor media company owned by Rupert Murdoch.

Google has said the details of the News Corp deal are confidential, but the Associated Press reports that it comes just days after Google agreed to a $ 30 million (Australian) deal a year with Seven West Media, which owns 21 publications.

The News Corp Agreement covers content shared by Google from more than 30 publications in Australia and some global publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, the NY Post and the Sun in the UK.

“Today’s agreement with News Corp covers a wide range of products, including News Showcase, YouTube, Web Stories, Audio and our advertising technology,” said Dan Harrison Starr, Google’s global partners.

“News Showcase now has partnerships with more than 500 publications around the world, demonstrating the value this product can bring to our news partners and readers everywhere.”

Google hopes to be in “active discussion” with Canadian publishers and “launch in Canada in the future”.

In Ottawa, a senior government official who spoke with the star said the government has not yet committed to an approach to ensure technology companies compensate media organizations, but that this may differ from Australian and French models.

The source said the federal government aims to introduce the law by the summer. The star did not name them because they were not authorized to speak in public.

Industry leaders in Canada, including Toronto-owned Torstar, have proposed a pay model similar to that in Australia.

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Provide Australian model media organizations with the ability to jointly negotiate with digital platforms. If an agreement cannot be reached, an arbitrator will enter and choose between one or the other final plan. Google said it was biased towards the model and had previously indicated that it was pulling its concerns out of Australia, citing financial concerns.

However, John Hinds, head of News Media Canada, said this week that Google’s deals were “fantastic” news for Canadian publishers, a campaign group to pay media companies.

“(Publishers in Australia) are pleased with the deals, and I feel that this can ensure the survival of quality news and that Google is adequately compensated for the use of the content, and I think I will go with that,” he said.

“This is what has been shown to a lesser extent in Australia and France. Without a regulatory framework, agreements will not happen.”

Dwayne Winsek, a professor at the School of Press and Communication at Carlton University, said Canada could see a similar war as the government moves to regulate.

“We see these companies slowly being pressured to make more solid investments,” he said.

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In Canada, the Liberal government has the backing of politicians on the other side of the aisle.

Conservative sen. Claude Grignon introduced a bill in the Senate on Wednesday that would amend the Copyright Act to provide compensation for the use of press works.

On the same day, Black Cubacois MP Martin Sampox stood in parliament and said that “although our local media is in crisis because of the web giants, the federal government has done” nothing.

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“We have to do something to support the creators,” he said. “If journalists didn’t work so hard, there would be nothing to share on social media. There will be no Facebook, or Google or Twitter. ”

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