Facebook's ban on news sharing in Canada goes too far
Facebook recently started restricting Canadian users from sharing or viewing any news on its platform. This is to comply with Canada's new Online News Act. But Facebook's sweeping ban goes beyond the law's intentions and limits Canadians' rights.
The news ban stops Canadians from getting information and discussing issues
Ordinary Canadians can no longer share news stories from Canadian outlets. This prevents people from seeing reports on important issues like Canadian Wildfire updates, politics, local events, and more.
Canadians also can't comment on or debate news posts anymore. This takes away an important public forum for Canadians to have conversations about issues that affect us all.
Overall, the ban keeps Canadians in the dark on news and current events. It takes away our access to information and ability to talk about what's happening in our country.
Facebook puts government demands ahead of regular users
Facebook says they had to block news to follow Canada's new law. But the law focuses on paid news content, not public posts.
By banning all news so strongly, Facebook shows that pleasing regulators matters more than serving its users. It's disappointing that a platform connecting billions of users won't stand up for their rights.
There are better solutions than blocking news completely
Of course, Facebook has to make hard content decisions. But surely there are smarter options than cutting off news for an entire country.
They could try filtering out paid news media only. Or use algorithms and human reviews for nuanced enforcement. A total ban is lazy, hurtful to users, and excessive.
Facebook needs to involve Canadians in finding a better approach
Facebook should work with lawmakers to comply with the law while respecting free expression. And they must engage everyday Canadian users too.
We deserve a voice on changes impacting our access to news and public discussion.
If Facebook does not reconsider this approach, the government has precedents and tools to compel compromise and restore news access, like citing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or regulating Facebook as an essential communications platform.
But open negotiation would be in both parties' interests. Facebook, reverse this news ban before doing further harm. Respect Canadians' rights.