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Torstar Pauses Advertising on Facebook and Instagram

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Toronto-based media company Torstar has announced that it will temporarily halt all advertising on Facebook and Instagram. The decision comes in response to Meta Platforms’ recent threat to block Canadian users’ access to news reports on its platforms, including Torstar’s publications.

Chief Executive Neil Oliver strongly objected to Meta’s plan, calling it unprecedented. He expressed concern over Meta’s intention to block access to their content as a form of protest against the Canadian government’s Online News Act.

This move by Torstar is the latest development in the ongoing battle between the Liberal government of Canada and major digital platforms such as Meta and Google. In support of this ongoing dispute, Canada recently announced that it will withdraw its advertising from Meta’s social media platforms.

The Online News Act, approved by Canada’s parliament two weeks ago, aims to ensure that domestic media outlets are compensated by digital platforms for providing links to their articles. The legislation is designed to provide financial support to media outlets in an era where advertising revenue has predominantly shifted to the digital sphere. Should negotiations fail, the law stipulates that both parties must enter into binding arbitration to determine suitable compensation.

Both Meta and Google have expressed their opposition to the law, arguing that it places a value on free webpage links, which they believe infringes on copyright legislation and disrupts the principles of an open internet.

It remains to be seen how the dispute between the Canadian government and digital platforms will unfold. Torstar’s decision to pause advertising on Facebook and Instagram serves as a clear statement of its objection to Meta’s actions.

(Copyright © Denny Jacob)

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