Trudeau Says Meta and Google Are ‘Bullying’ Canada

Trudeau Says Meta and Google Are ‘Bullying’ Canada

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Meta and Google are stalling the country’s Online News Act by using “bullying tactics.” The companies argue that the bill, which would require the big tech companies to pay news publishers for content posted to their websites, is unsustainable for their bottom line.

The Online News Act would require digital platforms to share revenue with news outlets, and sets up an arbitration framework in the event that those platforms and outlets cannot reach a revenue sharing agreement. Meta and Google have thrown tantrums in regards to the Online News Act in Canada before — Google threatened to block news in Canada in February, while Meta threatened to do the same in March. The bill was first introduced in April 2022, and now, Prime Minister Trudeau are calling Google and Meta for trying to strong arm the Canadian government, according to Reuters.

“The fact that these internet giants would rather cut off Canadians’ access to local news than pay their fair share is a real problem, and now they’re resorting to bullying tactics to try and get their way — it’s not going to work,” Trudeau said to reporters, as quoted in Reuters.

Last month, both Google and Meta released official statements on the Online News Act. Meta’s president of Global Affairs Nick Clegg claimed in a statement Meta only fairly benefits from users sharing news on the platform. Clegg further said that users don’t come to Facebook and Instagram for news, but to share the “ups and downs of life.” Google Canada’s vice president and Country Managing Director Sabrina Geremia wrote that the Online News Act could create a lower standard of journalism.

This is not the first time Google and Meta have pitifully attempted to flex their digital biceps against a government trying to hold them accountable for being a glorified newspaper. An Australian law similar to Canada’s Online News Act caused Facebook to ban news sharing amongst users in the country, with the platform claiming that news accounts for less than 4% of content shared. California lawmakers introduced similar legislation this past March that would also require tech companies to share revenue with news publishers through a “journalism usage fee.” Unsurprisingly, Meta and Google did not respond well, but the California Assembly is holding firm against Meta’s threats.