Over the next several weeks, tech giant Meta will be ending all news availability in Canada across Instagram and Facebook.
Meta said they passed the policy to comply with Bill C-18, also known as the Online News Act, which requires that tech companies pay media organizations for posting or repurposing news on their platforms.
According to the Government of Canada’s website, Bill C-18 intends to “support news businesses to secure fair compensation when their news content is made available by dominant digital news intermediaries.”
Daniel Akbarzadeh, a third-year computer science student, called Meta’s new policy “a really childish response to a law that the government made.”
“I feel like there’s better ways the government could have approached the situation, and I think there were better ways the companies could have responded,” he said.
In a statement issued on their website, Meta said that Bill C-18 “misrepresents the value news outlets receive when choosing to use our platforms.”
“It won’t impact me that much because I go on direct news apps, but there was definitely a convenience factor involved because I would randomly come across a lot of news on social media,” Akbarzadeh continued. “And the fact that I now won’t be able to find certain things I want to hear about as easily is gonna be kind of annoying.”
Many UW students said that they were unsure of where to receive their news now that it will no longer be available on Instagram and Facebook.
“I just find it kind of disheartening,” Mikel Osei-Owusu, a business and computer science student, said of Meta’s change in policy. “I don’t know where to get my news from now.”
Osei-Owusu said that moving forward, she would have to actively search for news, and look more towards online Canadian news outlets like CBC and CP24.
Others, like Izzy D’Costa, a chemistry student, said that they would be consuming less news altogether now. “I probably would not even access news at this point if it’s not being provided directly to me on social media,” she said.
Students who don’t rely on Meta’s platforms for news expressed concerns as well.
Alyssa Ilagan, a biology student, thinks that the policy change “would stop us from getting news we should be able to see,” and will especially impact the older generation.
“They get their news from Facebook, so I feel like that will impact them more than me,” she said, explaining that she usually receives her news from Twitter.
With files from Alicia Wang. Quotes were lightly edited for clarity.