‘Canadians don’t like being intimidated’: Ottawa slams Facebook over threats to pull news – National

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Federal Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez accused Meta on Thursday of trying to intimidate Canadians with threats of pulling news content from its Facebook platform, following the adoption of Bill C-18 in the House of Commons.

“Canadians don’t like being intimidated,” Rodriguez told reporters in Ottawa. “Me, if I were Facebook, I would change my strategy. It won’t pass with Canadians.”

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The minister was reacting to a statement on Wednesday from Facebook’s parent company, Meta, saying the bill “forces us to consider removing news from Facebook in Canada rather than being compelled to submit to government-mandated negotiations that do not properly account for the value we provide publishers.”

Bill C-18, which now moves on to the Senate, aims to force digital platforms — primarily Google and Facebook — to enter into compensation agreements with news companies whose journalistic content they share.

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“C-18, ultimately, is to guarantee a press that is free, independent, strong,” Rodriguez said. “That’s the goal of C-18. News has value. And the web giants must recognize that.”

In early October, Rodriguez accused Google and YouTube of behaving like bullies by publishing a blog post criticizing Bill C-11, which aims to regulate streaming platforms.

And last week, he showed impatience with the time taken by the Senate to conclude its study of Bill C-11, as a Senate committee adopted major amendments to the legislation. The NDP and Bloc Quebecois had also criticized the Senate’s deliberations on the bill.

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Many Conservatives, however, as well as content creators, have repeatedly stated that they fear Bill C-11 will limit what users of streaming platforms can share online.

Rodriguez said he didn’t think Bill C-18 will face the same delays in the Senate. “I hope not, but I think not. And the good news is that C-11 has passed the report stage in the Senate and should ideally return to the House at the start of the year.”

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The House of Commons adjourned for the holiday break on Wednesday and is expected to resume on Monday, Jan. 30.




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