Canadian Minister of Heritage Steven Guilbeault, condemned Facebook’s actions in blocking all Australian news sites last week as “highly irresponsible.” He announced that Canada would implement measures similar to those taken by Australia to ensure that Facebook pays for news content from Canadian publishers.
Canada is ready to take on the social networking giant, following Australia’s example, which started a war with Facebook when the country’s publishers backed proposed legislation requiring payment for their content, Fox News reported.
Guilbeault warned that Canada would be next to ensure that Facebook pays for news content from Canadian publishers. The minister is charged with drafting legislation in the coming months that would require Facebook and Alphabet Inc.’s Google to pay.
“Canada is at the forefront of this battle … we are really among the first group of countries around the world that are doing this,” Guilbeault told reporters on Feb. 18.
Guilbeault also reported that he recently met with government officials from Australia, Finland, France, and Germany to forge a common front regarding Google and Facebook.
“It was the first ministerial meeting where we jointly started talking about what we want to do together regarding web giants, including fair compensation for media. We believe that there’s real strength in unity on that,” he said, adding that the growing coalition of countries opposed to Facebook and Google could soon “reach 15.”
In Canada, critics of the social networking giants welcomed the country’s stance on the tech giants. Megan Boley, professor of media studies at the University of Toronto, said in an interview with the New York Post, “We are seeing a very significant turning point in challenging the monopoly that Big Tech is wielding.”
She added, “Right now, they are deciding what is truth for the whole world. What’s exciting is that this is an issue that countries can unite on and hold Facebook and Google accountable.”
The latest country to take concrete action on Big Tech was Poland when Polish Deputy Justice Minister Sebastian Kaleta announced fines of up to $13.5 million for tech giants that impose censorship measures on users residing in their country that are not justified under local laws.
“We see that when Big Tech decides to remove content for political purposes, it is mostly content that praises traditional values or conservatism,” Kaleta said. “And it is removed under its ‘hate speech policy’ when it has no legal right to do so.”