OTTAWA, July 5 (Reuters) – The Canadian government will stop spending some C$10 million ($7.5 million) per year on Facebook and Instagram ads amid a dispute over a new law on paying online news publishers that the Meta-owned platforms have opposed, Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said on Wednesday.
The government still sees a path forward in resolving the quarrel that has led to Meta and Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google to say they would end news access on their platforms in Canada, Rodriguez told reporters in Ottawa.
Google and Meta announced their moves after Bill C-18, or the Online News Act, was passed into law last month. The government is in the process of finalizing rules that would require the platforms to share some advertising revenue before the law is implemented by the end of this year.
“We cannot continue paying advertising dollars to Meta while they refuse to pay their fair share to Canadian news organizations,” Rodriguez said.
The legislation was drafted after calls from Canada’s media industry for tighter regulation of internet giants to allow news businesses to recoup financial losses suffered in the years that Facebook and Google gained a greater share of the online advertising market.
“We believe we have a path forward and we’re willing to continue talking with the platforms,” Rodriguez, who introduced the legislation last year, said.
Meta had no immediate comment. It has previously said that news does not hold economic value for the company and news organizations benefit from sharing their reports on Facebook.
Canadian telecoms operator Quebecor (QBRb.TO) and Cogeco, which runs radio stations in Quebec, also said on Wednesday they would stop advertising on Facebook and Instagram because of Meta’s opposition to the new law.
($1 = 1.3277 Canadian dollars)