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Viewpoint: Facebook and Google account for over 80 percent of all Canadian digital advertising revenue

We have a very serious situation in this country, and we are happy to hear that Federal Minister for Cultural Heritage Stephen Guilbeault recently said the government was preparing legislation to force tech giants to fairly compensate content creators.

Google and Facebook, two of the richest companies in history, control the entrance to the Internet highway in Canada. You decide what we, as a sovereign nation, see on the news and what we don’t. To make matters worse, they take the Canadians-produced news and don’t pay for it.

Now all of Canada’s news media companies, large and small, are suffering for two reasons:

First, Facebook and Google don’t pay them for their content. and

Second, Facebook and Google account for over 80 percent of all Canadian digital advertising revenues.

These massive American companies make practically all of their sales and don’t pay for content. Movie content doesn’t work that way in Canada. Music content doesn’t work that way. TV show content doesn’t work that way. Why is news content treated differently?

We just have to look south of the border to see what happens when real news companies disappear and social media platforms spread divisive, fake news. We need to support healthy, independent and diverse news companies as the backbone of our democracy.

This is urgent. It is a fact that news companies across Canada are going out of business. COVID-19 is accelerating the decline. Journalist jobs are disappearing. That means real news keeps disappearing and hate and fake news are all that remains to be spread. Let’s not allow that in Canada.

But there is good news. Australia found the solution. They created a law that forces the trillion dollar monopolies to pay fairly for news content. This costs the taxpayer absolutely nothing.

We encourage all MPs to act quickly. Canada needs your guidance.

John Hinds is the President / CEO of News Media Canada.

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