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Maybe the Social Media giant is simply exiting an unprofitable product line...

The parent company of Facebook and Instagram, Meta, has announced that Canadian users will no longer have access to news content on these platforms due to the passing of Bill C-18, the Online News Act.

This law requires tech giants like Meta and Google to pay news outlets for featuring their journalism on their platforms. In response, Meta has announced plans to gradually block news content for Canadian users over the coming months. The Trudeau government, and Canadian Heritage Minister, Pablo Rodriguez, emphasize that a free and independent press is essential for democracy and that this law ensures fair compensation for news businesses.

There’s a lot to unpack here, and I’m not even going to touch the topic of the rise of celebrity influencers or the overall trust issues people have with media (although having certain pundits & politicians bellow ‘fake news’ for a few years was definitely a factor) one needs to consider the dollars and sense of a singular motivator for Meta: they continue to have a smaller portion of their users that search for news on Facebook.

Over the past decade, the percentage of Global Facebook users that regularly searched for news content has steadily declined from its peak of 42% in 2016 to just 28% at the time of publication of the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2023. Canadians have followed this trend with only 29% regularly searching for news on Facebook in 2023.

According to Reuters, In response Meta has said that being compelled to pay for content that it has not itself posted is not sustainable, especially when news is not the main reason for people using its platforms. The question on my mind is: why would Meta pay for news content that their users are not reading or watching? While we debate the merits or follies of the Canadian government's intentions with Bill C-18 and pick sides on the debate about the ethics of monetized media, perhaps the social media giant is simply exiting an unprofitable product line?

Fun fact:

Finland remains the country with the highest levels of overall trust (69%), while Greece has the lowest (19%) Canada sits at 40%.

For more information about Global digital media trends, take a look at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism | Digital News Report 2023.


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