Friday 23 June 2023

Meta Shrugs

The Canadian Parliament passed Bill C-18, which will require Meta to pay whenever it links to a Canadian news source.

Canadian news publishers, like Kiwi news publishers, managed to convince both themselves and the government that it's the platforms who benefit from those links - not the linked-to site.

And they were, of course, wrong. 

The deal did not meet the participation constraint, and Meta has shrugged. 

The CBC reports:

The social media giant Meta has confirmed that it will end access to news on its social media sites for all Canadian users before Bill C-18, the Online News Act, comes into force.

The tech company made the announcement Thursday, the day after Parliament passed Bill C-18. The law will force tech giants like Meta and Google to pay news outlets for posting their journalism on their platforms.

Meta said it will begin to block news for Canadian users over the next few months and the change will not be immediate.

"We have repeatedly shared that in order to comply with Bill C-18 … content from news outlets, including news publishers and broadcasters, will no longer be available to people accessing our platforms in Canada," said Meta in a media statement.

As expected, Andrew Coyne's roundup on this one is best [Canadians should subscribe to the Globe & Mail. But if you're not based there and would only be reading this one column....].

He's trenchant. 

First, we gave away all our content online, without charge. Then we built unreadable, positively user-hostile websites. We were slow to react as advertisers deserted us for Facebook and Google, and when it finally dawned on us that this was a competition we couldn’t win – the platforms had simply built a better mousetrap, as far as advertisers were concerned – we went whining to government to save us: as if we were the only industry the internet had upended; as if the taxpayers were obliged to pay for our mistakes; as if we could so conspicuously prostitute ourselves to the thing we spend most of our time covering – government – without anyone noticing, or without in fact being prostitutes.

But of all the lies we told ourselves and others, the most preposterous was the lie that “the platforms stole our content.” They didn’t steal it. For the most part, they don’t even use it. What they do is link to it. How does a link work? You click on it, and you are taken to the address embedded in it – that is, to one of our pages. Far from stealing our content or our readers, the platforms have been sending readers our way by the millions, there to read our content and see our ads.

They perform a service for us, in other words, the proof of which is the profusion of “Share this” and “Link to this” buttons we plaster all over our stories. We want readers to post our stories to Facebook, Twitter and the rest. As, in fact, we do ourselves, and for the same reason: because we know it benefits us. Because we need the platforms, far more than they need us. 


No comments:

Post a Comment