For Immediate Release
June 2, 2023
Following news of Meta’s announcement that it will block news content to 5% of the 24 million Canadian Facebook and Instagram users as a tactic to stop C-18 from becoming law, Accountable Tech Co-Founder and Executive Director Nicole Gill issued the following statement:
“Meta’s unchecked monopoly power has long allowed them to intimidate governments and manipulate any sort of meaningful measure that would hold them to account. Today’s decision demonstrates how much power Big Tech has over our communication systems and the distribution of news, and how little they care about anything other than profits.
“What we witnessed unfold in Australia, and now in Canada, is Big Tech’s willingness to cripple democracy by withholding news content to a population – chosen at random – as a bargaining chip to stop legislation. It’s clear that Meta has no interest in acting in good faith or improving the lives of its users and the communities they operate in. There is simply no reason for the U.S. to delay any action on reining them in.”
Meta has done little to stop the spread of misinformation, failing to enforce their own policies and instead amplifying conspiracies that further exacerbate extreme ideological discourse online over legitimate news sources. Withholding news content is consistent with recent actions by Meta, like deplatforming researchers who study their impact on the spread of misinformation and laying off workers who handle content moderation. The company is also using the same tactic to stop legislation in California that would tax the advertising profits they make from distributing news articles, threatening to block news content in the state.