NEW YORK, June 23 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Meta Platforms (META.O) wants to unfriend the media. The $720 bln social media company plans to cut off news access on Facebook and Instagram in Canada after the country’s parliament passed a law that requires tech giants to pay publishers to use their content. If Australia is any guide, Meta’s intended blackout will likely be short-lived.
Meta made the same threat in 2021 as Australia worked out similar legislation. Mark Zuckerberg’s company quickly restored access to the news Down Under after securing concessions from lawmakers. Meta has insisted it is unfair to expect the company to pay publishers when it drives traffic to their websites. Yet since the law took effect, Meta and Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google have paid some A$200 million ($134 million) annually to Australian news outlets, according to a report from the former chair of Australia’s competition regulator.
Pressure is mounting globally. Lawmakers are pushing for similar rules in Meta’s home state of California and in the U.S. Congress. Meta says it makes 40% of its revenue, which was $117 billion last year, in the U.S. and lists Australia and Canada among its most significant regions. If Canada calls Meta’s bluff, the tech giant may just as easily fold against Uncle Sam. (By Anita Ramaswamy)
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Editing by Jennifer Saba and Katrina Hamlin
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