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Bill C-18 passes; Local news could soon disappear from your news feeds

Don’t expect to see credible local news on your Facebook feed in the next few months. The federal government’s bill requiring tech giants Meta and Google to pay media outlets to share or repurpose their content is set to become law in the coming months.

Bill C-18 received House of Commons approval in December and passed through the senate with a few changes, that have now received House approval.

From the House of Commons, Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor says the bill will support local news organizations.

During a debate earlier this week, he said that now is the time to invest in local media to combat misinformation.

“This is a time when we do have to invest in our local media, because I am always amazed at the difference between the conversations I see on Twitter and the ones I hear in real life when I am back in my riding speaking to real people,” says MacGregor. “These local organizations are such a powerful antidote to that misinformation we are seeing online.”

Now that the bill has passed through both the House and the senate it awaits the stamp of approval from King Charles.

In response, Meta confirmed today it plans to carry out its threats to block Canadian news content to its users, something it has tested out to about five per cent of Canadians in the past few weeks. They did not provide a timeline for the change.

Google is expected to follow suit as Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says did have meetings with Google this week, which has hinted it would do the same as Meta and block Canadian news content.

Rodriguez says the Liberal government won’t give in to the threats of big tech.

If the bill receives royal assent it will become law within six months.

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