Canada's Government Hits Facebook and Instagram with Massive Advertising Freeze – Find Out Why

During a press conference today, Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez publicized the Canadian federal government's decision to cease advertising on Meta’s platforms, Facebook and Instagram. This move is in reaction to Meta's choice to ban news content after Bill C-18 was passed.

Rodriguez criticized Facebook’s choice to discontinue news content in Canada, describing it as "unreasonable and irresponsible". He urged the government to counteract such aggressive tactics, saying, "if the government does not stand up to that kind of bullying and intimidation, then who will?"

In outlining the government's future course of action, Rodriguez was supported by NDP MP Peter Julian and Bloc Quebecois MP Martin Champoux, both of whom championed the legislation during the committee process.

Champoux asserted that this suspension of advertising sends a strong message to Google and Meta, emphasizing the need for them to comply with Canadian law. He commended Quebecor and Cogeco for following suit and pulling their advertising from Facebook and Instagram, and encouraged other companies to do the same.

Rodriguez specified that the government spends approximately $10 million annually on advertising via Meta’s platforms. This money, he confirmed, would be reallocated to major campaigns rather than being kept within government coffers. He distinguished between the Liberal Party's ongoing Facebook advertisements and the government's stance, arguing they are separate entities.

Nevertheless, Rodriguez stated the government remains open to further discussions with Google to address their concerns about the new law. "Google wants to keep talking, discussing, finding a path forward. And the discussions are not easy, to be honest," he said. While admitting some disagreements exist, he emphasized that the government believes that the solution can only be found through dialogue. He expressed disappointment at Meta's unwillingness to engage in discussions, saying it benefits neither party and is detrimental to their shared goal of finding mutually beneficial solutions.

He voiced his government's confidence in reaching an agreement with Google on significant issues and informed they have a meeting scheduled soon. He also extended an invitation to Meta to engage in dialogue, expressing optimism that a solution could be found. "Regulations can answer a lot of your questions," he added.

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