Meta news blocks in Canada fails to impact FB usage
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8 months ago 06:00:03am Television

Meta news blocks in Canada fails to impact FB usage

New Delhi, August 30 2023, By IBW Team

Meta news blocks in Canada fails to impact FB usage

Meta‘s decision to block news links in Canada this month has had almost no impact on Canadians’ usage of Facebook, data from independent tracking firms indicated yesterday, as the company faces scorching criticism from the Canadian government over the move.

Daily active users of Facebook and time spent on the app in Canada have stayed roughly unchanged since parent company Meta started blocking news there at the start of August, according to data shared by Similarweb, a digital analytics company that tracks traffic on websites and apps, at Reuters’ request.

Another analytics firm, Data.ai, likewise told Reuters that its data was not showing any meaningful change to usage of the platform in Canada in August, a Reuters report from New York stated.

The estimates, while early, appear to support Meta’s contention that news holds little value for the company as it remains locked in a tense standoff in Canada over a new law requiring internet giants to pay publishers for the news articles shared on their platforms. Meta declined to comment on the estimates.

The Online News Act, passed by the Canadian parliament in June, forces platforms like Meta and Google parent Alphabet to negotiate commercial deals with Canadian news publishers for use of their content.

Both Meta and Alphabet’s Google have said the law is unworkable for their businesses. Meta, in particular, has said links to news items make up less than three percent of the content on its Facebook feeds and have no economic value to the company.

The world’s biggest social media company has been trying to reduce the prevalence of news and other civic content on its platforms in recent years as it faces regulatory pressure in key markets around the world.

Instead, it aims to promote lighter subjects like fashion, entertainment and sports.

The shift has resulted in a dramatic reduction in news consumption via social media, according to recent reports by the Reuters Institute and Pew Research Center, the Reuters report added.

Even before Meta pulled the plug on news links in Canada, Facebook referrals to a sampling of popular news sites in Canada were already down about 35 percent year-over-year in July and about 74 percent since 2020, according to Similarweb.

Still, the company’s own transparency reports suggest news remains some of the most popular content on Facebook when it is there, at least in the United States, the only country for which Meta discloses the most frequently viewed content.

According to its most recent report, news websites made up 13 of the top 20 domains viewed on Facebook in the United States in the first quarter, while 18 of the top 20 individual links were to news articles.


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