The Liberal government ignored every opinion contrary to their bet that Meta was bluffing. Now, the government is trying to politicize a crisis to get their way.
Bill C-18 is now an unmitigated disaster.
Even many of those who supported it have realized how badly it has backfired, and they’ve been reduced to pointlessly begging Meta to simply give in and put Canadian news links back on their platform.
Pablo Rodriguez, the former Heritage Minister who pushed the legislation, is demanding Meta post Canadian news amid wildfires:
“A Canadian government minister on Friday demanded that Meta lift a ban on domestic news from its platforms to allow people to share information about wildfires in the west of the country.
Meta started blocking news on its Facebook and Instagram platforms for all users in Canada this month in response to a new law requiring internet giants to pay for news articles.
Some people fleeing wildfires in the remote northern town of Yellowknife have complained to domestic media that the ban prevented them from sharing important data about the fires.
“What Meta is doing now is completely unacceptable … we see that due to this ban, people do not have access to information that is absolutely crucial,” Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez told a briefing.
“I demand that Meta reverse this decision,” continued Rodriguez, who in his previous role as heritage minister oversaw the legislation requiring payment for articles.”
First of all, as a government official, Rodriguez shouldn’t be ‘demanding’ anything from a private company.
Second, Rodriguez was warned for months that this was going to happen.
Meta repeatedly stated that if Bill C-18 was passed without the removal of the demand that Meta pay for links (effectively forcing them to pay for a service they were already providing for free), they would remove Canadian news links from their platform.
Remember, Meta is indeed complying with Bill C-18 by removing the links. They were told that posting the news links was stealing, so they decided to stop ‘stealing.’
Rodriguez and the Liberal government were also warned repeatedly that Bill C-18 would end up reducing Canadians’ access to important information during a crisis. Again, this could have been avoided by simply removing the demand for payment for links from the legislation.
Instead of listening to the warnings, the Liberals ignored everyone. Over and over and over again, they claimed Meta was bluffing. They demonized those who opposed the legislation. Justin Trudeau even compared American social media companies to Canada’s enemies in World War Two, a truly disgusting and hyperbolic rhetorical attack.
Now, the consequences of Bill C-18 are being seen in real-time.
Canadians have lost access to important information at a moment of crisis, which could have been avoided had the Liberal government and their media backers had not been greedy and tried to extract money from Meta.
The government, not Meta is responsible
Meta was providing access to news and information for free.
Canadian news outlets benefitted from the free traffic.
Canadians benefitted from the free flow of information.
Political parties – like the Liberals who are still advertising on Meta at this very moment – benefitted from more attention to their messages.
All of this could have been preserved simply by doing nothing at all. The government could have just focused on other issues.
Instead, they picked a fight with Meta, assumed Meta was bluffing, and then lost the fight decisively.
Now, Canadians in crisis are paying the prices, and all the government can think of is to try and exploit that crisis for political gain by attacking Meta even more.
The fact is that it’s the Liberal government, not Meta, that is to blame.
Photo – YouTube