Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Canada is strongly condemning Facebook’s decision to block news-sharing on its platform in Australia as part of an escalating standoff over rules requiring social-media platforms to compensate news publishers.

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault said Thursday that Facebook’s actions are imperilling public safety, given that the news ban initially led to the temporary shutdown of Facebook pages run by key government agencies, including a suicide-prevention service and a fire-and-rescue organization.

Mr. Guilbeault said Facebook’s move will not deter Canada from moving ahead with legislation early this year that will require social-media platforms to fund news.

Story continues below advertisement

“I must condemn what Facebook is doing,” he said Thursday during an online news conference. “I think what Facebook is doing in Australia is highly irresponsible and compromises the safety of many Australian people.”

Guilbeault keeping a close eye on Australia’s battle with Google as Canada prepares its own social media bills

Mr. Guilbeault pointed out that he met just last week with his counterparts from Australia, Finland, France and Germany to discuss a common front on news and other issues related to Facebook and Google. He said he expects the coalition will soon grow to about 15 countries.

“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. “I’m a bit curious to see what Facebook’s response will be. Is Facebook going to cut ties with Germany, with France, with Canada, with Australia and other countries that will join? At a certain point, Facebook’s position will be completely untenable.”

Australia is in the final stages of approving legislation that would require Google and Facebook to reach compensation agreements with registered news publishers for news content that is shared on the platforms. The two companies strongly opposed the legislation as unworkable and Google initially threatened to shut down its Google search engine in the country. In recent days however, Google has announced individual compensation deals with major Australian publishers.

On Wednesday, Google announced that it had reached a three-year deal with News Corp., which publishes several news platforms in Australia, including The Australian, news.com.au and Sky News. The deal will compensate the publisher for news that appears on its platforms such as Google News Showcase.

Facebook’s announcement Wednesday comes after a flurry of high-level lobbying by the company for changes. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said this week that he is in direct talks with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the issue.

William Easton, managing director of Facebook Australia & New Zealand, explained the company’s decision in an online post Wednesday.

Story continues below advertisement

“The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content,” he wrote. “As we have made clear to the Australian government for many months, the value exchange between Facebook and publishers runs in favour of the publishers – which is the reverse of what the legislation would require the arbitrator to assume. Last year Facebook generated approximately 5.1 billion free referrals to Australian publishers worth an estimated AU$407 million.”

Mr. Easton added that news makes up less than 4 per cent of the content people see in their Facebook news feed. “For Facebook, the business gain from news is minimal,” he said.

NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice proposed a motion Thursday in the House of Commons to condemn Facebook’s decision in Australia and that “Facebook’s intimidation has no place in a democracy.” The motion was not approved as it did not receive unanimous consent.

Google has also recently announced compensation arrangements with news publishers in France. Mr. Guilbeault has said Canada is looking closely at the Australian and French models to guide Canada’s legislation. On Thursday, Mr. Guilbeault said regulation is still needed even if platforms reach arrangements with publishers.

“What we are doing is moving away from a volunteer approach. We want something that is fair, that is transparent, that is predictable,” he said. “What’s to say that Google tomorrow, six months, a year from now, doesn’t change its mind and decide that that’s not what they want to do anymore? What would happen then to news publishers in in Canada? Which is why we continue to believe that we need this regulatory framework to ensure that the rules are fair for everyone.”

Know what is happening in the halls of power with the day’s top political headlines and commentary as selected by Globe editors (subscribers only). Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies