'Good riddance' or 'don't unfriend us'? Publishers torn over Meta move to block news

Publishers torn over Meta

Independent publishers across Canada are expressing mixed feelings about Meta's decision to temporarily block news on Instagram and Facebook for some Canadian users. 

The company says it's a response to the Liberal government's Bill C-18, which would require tech giants to pay publishers for linking to or otherwise repurposing news content, and it plans to block news in Canada completely if the bill passes in the Senate. 

Kerry Benjoe, president of Eagle Feather News Media in Saskatchewan, says she relies on Facebook to grow her newspaper's audience, which she uses to grow her ad revenue. 

She says her team of four heavily relies on social media as a tool to reach people they wouldn't otherwise reach, especially in remote Indigenous communities. 

But William Pearson, co-publisher of Peterborough Currents, is against the online news bill because he believes he won't benefit from it, and he says publishers need to develop ways to reach people that aren't mediated by tech companies.

He says while he relies on Facebook to promote his digital platform, he's more focused on growing the business through subscriptions, newsletters and interacting with his community in person. 

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