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‘Business Would Be Over’: Canada’s News Publishers Say Ban by Google and Facebook Would Devastate Them

Canadian news publishers have shed new light on how journalism in Canada could be harmed if big tech platforms make good on their threats to block the posting of their content, should Ottawa’s online news bill pass unchanged.

Jeff Elgie, the CEO of community news company Village Media, told senators studying the bill that Google and Facebook generate more than 50 per cent of his digital company’s web traffic. 

“If that traffic was lost, the business would be over,” said Elgie, whose company owns 25 local news publications across Ontario.

Pierre-Elliott Levasseur, the president of Quebec’s La Presse and a director with News Media Canada, said if news sharing was blocked on Facebook alone, the French-language news outlet would take a “financial hit” of under a million dollars.

And Phillip Crawley, the publisher and CEO of the Globe and Mail, said a potential Facebook news ban in Canada would mean a loss of “millions of dollars” for the national newspaper.

What is Bill C-18 and why are Google and Meta worried about it? 

The trio were discussing Bill C-18, or the Online News Act: a proposed piece of legislation the Liberals and many media organizations hope to see passed before Parliament rises for the summer. The bill would compel digital giants like Google and Meta — Facebook’s parent company — to strike deals with Canadian media publishers for sharing and directing their users to online news content. The Liberal government views the bill as a way to support a shrinking journalism industry Ottawa says has been hurt by tech titans’ domination of the digital advertising market.

Source: The Star



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