Facebook blocks links to Canadian media after law passed requiring them to pay

After Canada's Senate passed a law mandating that social media sites pay news sources a license fee whenever links to articles are posted there, Facebook has blocked users from doing so. The block, covering various Canadian news media, extends to Instagram.

On Thursday, it said news availability will be ended on Facebook and Instagram for all users in Canada – before the bill takes effect.

"A legislative framework that compels us to pay for links or content that we do not post, and which are not the reason the vast majority of people use our platforms, is neither sustainable nor workable," a Meta spokesperson told Reuters.

"Pay us to link to us" has historically not worked out for the sites demanding it. This is why they, almost without exception, set up their websites to provide social media cards and previews and custom images to social media venues. They need to be linked to from these gatekeepers to survive. The only way they get what they want is as part of higher-level political negotiations between social media companies and governments in which they are subjects, not stakeholders. In all fairness, though, that's what this is.