New Canadian publisher payment laws mean Meta has started blocking news in the country while losing a lawsuit in Europe that will now force it to give users an option to opt into personalised ads.
Meta, the owner of Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, and Threads, is undergoing changes forced by regulations worldwide, particularly in Canada and Europe.
The platform announced it would no longer be publishing news content in Canada after a government move to pass the Online News Act, Bill C-18, in June. The act forces online platforms to compensate news companies in the form of licensing.
Representatives at Meta believe that this puts an unfair burden on the company, arguing that news content makes up less than 3% of their content and shouldn’t be monetised.
“News outlets voluntarily share content on Facebook and Instagram to expand their audiences and help their bottom line,” Rachel Curran, Meta’s head of public policy in Canada, said. “In contrast, we know the people using our platforms don’t come to us for news.”
A similar law was almost passed in 2021 in Australia, however, companies like Alphabet and Meta renegotiated before it was in effect.
Meanwhile, critics say Meta’s move in response to the law is irresponsible.
“They would rather block their users from accessing good quality and local news instead of paying their fair share to news organisations,” said Ms. St-Onge, Minister of Canadian Heritage, in a statement on Twitter.
Payments in Europe
The social media giant is also facing issues in Europe.
Reports from the Wall Street Journal indicate that Meta is now forced to make highly targeted ads opt-in, as per EU regulations, however the company says its proposal would take about three months to implement.
Meta’s announcement about asking for users’ consent comes after rulings by the Irish Data Protection Commission, which is Meta’s EU-wide regulator, as well as the EU court of Justice and the Norwegian Data Protection Authority.
The offer to limit so-called behavioural ads to users who opt-in goes far beyond what Meta has done in response to privacy regulators.
Since April, Meta has allowed users in Europe to request an opt-out from ads based on their activity in Meta apps, but only if a user completes a lengthy form on its help pages. That process likely has limited the number of people who have opted out.
Advertising accounted for 97% of Meta’s $117bn (£92bn) revenue last year, though this is expected to take a big hit by the end of next year.