New legislation in Canada has prompted Meta to restrict news on Facebook and Instagram, changing how many consume information.
Canada’s Online News Act, approved last Thursday, compels social media platforms to compensate news publishers for content shared online.
Newstalk Tech Correspondent Jess Kelly told Newstalk Breakfast this is tracked according to links shared on social media feeds.
“If I wanted to share this morning’s Newstalk Breakfast’s news on my Facebook feed, if I was in Canada, I wouldn’t be able to do that now,” she said.
The Canadian Government introduced this legislation to boost financial support to a struggling news industry – but Meta have chosen to block news from their platforms instead.
Meta called the Online News Act “fundamentally flawed legislation that ignores the realities of how our platforms work”.
“It all comes down to money,” Jess said.
Social media and news
Jess said this new legislation will certainly transform how a lot of people consume news.
“If you look at the Reuters survey that was done last year, it showed how social media is used as a news outlet,” she said.
“20% of 18- to 24-year-olds get their news from TikTok, 28% get it from Facebook, even if that figure has dropped significantly.”
There will be “serious consequences” to Canada’s controversial legislation, according to Jess.
“What happens when there’s a breaking news story or when there is something of note that people need to share?” she said.
“There’s also been some controversy in Australia, where Facebook tried to block news content and ended up blocking some vital services like emergency alerts.”
Jess said this legislation could “potentially” reach Ireland in the future but would face the controversy seen in Canada and Australia.
“I think the ramifications would be severe if it did happen, but fingers crossed it doesn’t,” she said.