Canada to make Facebook pay for news

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Canada has vowed to make Facebook Inc pay for news content. Canada turned Australia’s ally in the media battle with tech giants as she pledged not to back down if the social media platform shuts off the country’s news as it did in Australia.

Facebook blocked all Australian news content on its service over proposed legislation requiring it and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay fees to Australian publishers for news links.

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, in charge of crafting similar legislation to be unveiled in coming months, condemned Facebook’s action and said it would not deter Canada.

Last year, Canadian media organizations warned of a potential market failure without government action. They said the Australian approach would permit publishers to recover C$620 million a year. Without action, they warned, Canada would lose 700 print journalism jobs out of 3,100 total.

Guilbeault said Canada could adopt the Australian model, which requires Facebook and Google to reach deals to pay news outlets whose links drive activity on their services, or agree on a price through binding arbitration.

Another option is to follow the example of France, which requires large tech platforms to open talks with publishers seeking remuneration for use of news content.

This week, Facebook said news makes up less than 4% of content people see on the platform but contended that it helped Australian publishers generate about AU $407 million last year.

Google has signed 500 deals worth around $1 billion over three years with publishers around the world for its new News Showcase service and is in talks with Canadian companies.

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