HOW TO STAY CONNECTED AFTER BILL C-18
By Abbigale Kernya
Managing Editor, KBI Inspire
In June of this year, the Canadian government put forward a controversial new bill called the Online News Act—more commonly referred to as Bill C-18—which in short means that companies like Meta and Google would have to pay a fee to host Canadian news content on their respective platforms such as Instagram and Facebook in an aim to compensate Canadian journalism.
This, however, did not bode well for said companies as Meta announced that instead of complying, they moved to completely remove any Canadian news outlets from their platforms entirely, while Google announced their plans to phase out Canadian news links from their search, discover, and news section from their engine.
Larger media outlets owned by feeder companies such as Torstar are undeniably in a better position to combat this fight between billionaires and the Canadian government with resources and an established readership to keep connected. On the other hand, smaller independent media outlets will undeniably suffer the most as they are not afforded the same luxuries paywalled outlets offer. There are pros and cons to both, but for now, it’s important to remember the real reason we are here: to keep connected in a time of great censorship.
It is safe to say this does not serve the greater interest of Canadians and makes staying in touch increasingly more difficult in a time of already rough waters of media literacy and media freedom. Personal views on the matter aside, it is important now more than ever to support local media and show solidarity to keep the lights on and news flowing.
Canadian news organizations have had to pivot drastically to combat the devastating loss of readership with the removal of their accounts on both Instagram and Facebook. One drastic way to keep connected with your favourite providers is to sign up for their newsletter! I almost prefer catching the recap in my inbox to ensure I don’t miss anything in the tumultuous timeline of the Metaverse.
This reminds me — KBI Inspire Magazine now has its own official bi-weekly newsletter: The Catch Up. Sign up on our home page to keep in touch and stay connected to everything KBI Inspires!
Additionally, get involved! Many outlets will accept community contributions in whichever form outlined on their website, and it’s a fantastic way to use your voice to help amplify not only your message, but the platform as well.
Share share share!! Sharing news links has become an increasingly stealthy profession nowadays with the removal of Canadian news links on Instagram stories, however, when there is a will there’s a way—Tiny URLs is a godsend site to work around the pesky blocks Meta has instituted.
Finally, if you feel so inclined and are in a position to do so, donating to your local independent media in the name of solidarity against a tyranny of media censorship can seriously help them stay afloat during these unprecedented times—even the smallest amount can help!
Bill C-18 has caused a serious kink in Canadian content sharing and it unfortunately does not look like it’s getting better anytime soon. In the face of uncertainty, it’s important we all do our part to stand together and support one another against adversity and the profound message that Canadian news is here to stay—billionaires and bills be damned!
It cannot be understated just how important it is to stay connected to your community and the world. With the majority of users, particularly younger generations getting their news from such platforms as are currently being restricted, staying connected is increasingly more difficult but with these pointers, I hope to have made this challenge a little less so.