Last month, Liberal MP Lisa Hepfner shocked Canadian online news outlets by stating that “they’re not news.They’re not gathering news. They’re publishing opinion only.” The comments sparked instant criticism from news outlets across the country, leading Hepfner to issue a quick apology. In the aftermath of the comments, Hepfner said nothing for weeks at Heritage committee studying Bill C-18. That bill passed third reading yesterday – I posted on the embarrassing legislative review – and Hepfner was back at it. Rather than criticizing online news outlets, this time she targeted the Internet platforms, saying the bill would make it “harder for big digital platforms like Facebook and Google to steal local journalists’ articles and repost them without credit.”
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The Bill C-18 Fallout: Liberal MP Lisa Hepfner Equates Linking to News Articles on Facebook to Theft
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 146: Axel Bruns on What the Australian Experience Teaches About the Prospect of Facebook Blocking News Sharing in Response to Bill C-18
As Bill C-18 heads to clause-by-clause review later this week, the prospect that Facebook could block news sharing on its platform in Canada in response has attracted the ire of politicians and concerns from media outlets that rely on social media as part of their business model. But is this a bluff or, having just laid off 11,000 employees, an accurate reflection of where the company stands on the value of news on its platform given current economic realities?
Axel Bruns is a Professor of Communication and Media Studies at QUT Digital Media Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, who has written about the Australian News Media Bargaining Code and the effects of the Facebook news sharing blocking in 2021. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to discuss the Australian experience in an effort to answer the question of whether Facebook is bluffing or if news sharing on the platform in Canada is placed at risk should Bill C-18 become law.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 105: NDP MP Charlie Angus on Canada’s Failed Digital Policy and His Hopes for the Next Parliamentary Session
NDP MP Charlie Angus has been a consistent – and persistent – voice on digital policies since his election to the House of Commons in 2004. He was one of the first MPs to seriously consider user rights within Canadian copyright law, a vocal supporter of net neutrality and more affordable wireless services, and a leading advocate for privacy protection and social media regulation.
Last week, Angus called a press conference to unveil his six point plan for digital policy, which emphasized accountability, privacy reform, and algorithmic transparency. Along the way, he derided the government’s Bill C-10 efforts as a political dumpster fire and voiced support for the creation of a new officer of parliament charged with responsibility for social media regulation. Charlie Angus joins the Law Bytes podcast this week to reflect on the failed bill C-10 and C-11, his concerns with the online harms consultation, and his hopes for the coming parliamentary session.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 104: Taylor Owen on What the Latest Facebook Revelations Mean for Canada’s Online Harms Legislative Plans
Facebook has once again found itself in the political spotlight as Frances Haugen, a former data scientist and product manager with the company turned whistleblower, provided the source documents for an explosive investigative series in the Wall Street Journal followed by an appearance before a U.S. Senate committee. The Facebook Files series comes just as Canada is moving toward its own legislative response to Internet concerns, with an online harms consultation that provides a roadmap for future policies.
The Canadian initiative has sparked widespread criticism, but recent events may only increase the calls for legislative action. Taylor Owen, the Beaverbrook Chair in Media, Ethics and Communications in the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University joins the Law Bytes podcast to discuss the latest revelations and what they might mean for the future of Canadian Internet regulation.