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Facebook’s outrageous bid to blackmail Australia into dropping its efforts to make tech companies pay for journalism isn’t working. Indeed, Canada will follow its Commonwealth cousin and require that tech giants pay for the news that helps drive users to their highly profitable sites.
Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s minister of Canadian heritage, called Facebook “highly irresponsible” last week for barring users from sharing Australian news and even blocking public-service pages that provided COVID info and bushfire warnings. He’s drafting legislation similar to Australia’s.
“Canada is at the forefront of this battle,” Guilbeault said, vowing his government won’t be intimidated. He recently met with ministers from Australia, France, Germany and Finland to develop a coalition particularly targeted at getting Facebook and Google to pay “fair compensation for media.”
“We believe that there’s real strength in unity on that,” he said, noting the coalition could rise to 15 members. “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.”
He’s right: Facebook can’t keep making millions off the hard work of journalists if countries band together and force it to pay up. Google, which just announced a revenue-sharing deal with News Corp., the largest owner of newspapers by circulation in Australia (and The Post’s parent company), is already in discussions with Canadian companies.
Congress and the Biden administration should be rushing to join Guilbeault’s coalition.