Most Canadians worry about losing access to news due to Bill C-18: Angus Reid Institute survey

Online news Act. Image Credit: Representational image/Pixabay

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Toronto/CMEDIA: A  new report from the Angus Reid Institute reportedly said that many Canadians worried about  the future of digital Canadian news and losing access to news on their go-to platforms when Bill C-18 became law on June 22.

Tech giants Meta and Google had been warning that they will block Canadian news content from their websites while the bill was being discussed.

Bill C-18, commonly known as the Online News Act, which would come into effect in about a few months, requires companies such as Meta and Google to compensate Canadian media publications for making news content available on their platforms.

Angus Reid Institute’s new report said that while 61 percent of Canadians agree that tech companies should compensate Canadian news organizations for their content, 63 percent are concerned about losing access to Canadian news on their go-to platforms like Facebook and Google.

And while about 49 percent believe the federal government should “back down” in its battle against the tech giants, 26 percent say they should “stand firm” and 25 percent are unsure about the best path forward.

The report also said that Canadians aged 64 and older are most likely to visit Canadian news sites to consume news before looking elsewhere. Yet, the rest of the population prefer to check social media sites like Facebook and Reddit first to get their news.

About 85 percent of Canadians do not pay for any online news subscription, said Angus Reid, whereas non-profit Canadian media companies have become more reliant on internet ad revenues.

With the digital market being dominated by tech giants like Meta,  according to the report, in Canada, Google and Facebook receive 80 percent of digital advertising revenue, while last year Meta made more than $23 billion in profit and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, made close to $60 billion in profit.

The survey said that while 42 percent of respondents believe Google and Meta should pay an annual fee, 20 percent said the tech giants should pay every time a Canadian news link is clicked on their platforms.