Meta has reiterated its threat that it will “end the availability of news content in Canada” if Bill C-18, The Online News Act, comes into law.
Nick Clegg, Meta’s president, Global Affairs, made the statement, but did not deliver it in person to Canada’s Heritage Committee on Monday.
Clegg was initially scheduled to speak at “a hearing of Canada’s Heritage Committee entitled ‘The Response of Companies in the Information Technology Sector to Bill C-18’.
On Thursday, the company said, “the committee notified Meta that the title of the hearing had changed to ‘Tech Giants’ Current and Ongoing Use of Intimidation and Subversion Tactics to Evade Regulation in Canada and Across the World’.
“Clearly, it would be a very different hearing to the one Nick Clegg was invited to,” Meta states. “As such, we have notified the committee that he will no longer be appearing. Meta representatives in Canada will attend the hearing.”
In his statement, Clegg says, “Asking a social media company in 2023 to subsidize news publishers for content that isn’t that important to our users is like asking email providers to pay the postal service because people don’t send letters any more.”
In addition, Clegg notes that “not all internet companies are the same.”
He added, “We’re not Google. They are an amazingly successful company that does extraordinarily useful things for people, but they operate a search engine that functions by using links to news web pages. Meta, by contrast, doesn’t solicit, need or collect content from news websites to put on our services.”