Today's discussion:

The media is boycotting Meta and nobody cares

Today, Peter Menzies writes that journalists will make a cringeworthy call for the nation to rise in solidarity with them and mark Sept.15 as a #DayWithoutMeta. As we all know from reading the newspaper and watching TV news, the foundations of society crumble without well-paid journos. Or so they say.

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Rudyard Griffiths

Peter makes as usual some great points in his piece for us this morning. Having followed this issue closely the past year as The Hub’s executive director, I have come to the view it would be better for the media if Google joins Meta and drops news from its platform so it also doesn’t fall under the Act. C-18 is rent seeking pure and simple. It will create a news media that is permanently dependent on large scale subsidies (up to 50% of payrolls) for survival. This will have a profound and pernicious effect on the dwindling public trust in the media generally. What is currently happening to news media is a multiyear industry shakeout brought about by technological change and new consumer preferences. We should let this play out. New models and organizations to deliver “the news” are already emerging. More will follow. “The news” has been around at scale since the invention of the printing press. It isn’t going anywhere.

15th September 2023 at 8:00 am
Luke Smith

As The Hub’s deputy editor, I’ve gotta say this is spot on:

“Someone needs to tell the news industry—friend to friend—that the public’s nowhere near as into it as it is into itself.”

Journalism is important, sure, but journalists don’t need to act so self-important. Let’s just be less annoying online. Don’t know if it will help but surely it can’t hurt.

15th September 2023 at 11:14 am
Paul Haliburton

I cancelled my cable service a year ago and since then have been receiving news and other information on the internet by subscribing to independent media organizations such as the Hub,True North, the CCF and Youtube etc. I’m selective in what I read and watch and I’m willing to pay for objective opinions and a deeper analysis of newsworthy events. It’s actually not that expensive.

15th September 2023 at 9:37 am
Alice B

I have never had a Facebook, instagram, Twitter or other social media account. I dont miss it. Whenever I have seen those things, they appear to be gossipy, mean spirited, conspiratorial comments.

I get a local paper mailed once a week (I live in a rural area), and I have a National Post account to read on line. I happily subscribe to the Hub. If I feel I need other news, I will find it.

All of these organizations should be able to survive without any government subsidy. If they can’t, they should be allowed to fail. There will be new innovators who take up their space. And I think CBC shouldn’t get government subsidy anymore either. It would make more sense to make sure people in remote areas have satellite access to the internet and all news sources than to subsidize one company. The first has longer-term otions; the second is just a waste of tax dollars. We need to use our tax dollars more wisely.

15th September 2023 at 8:31 am
Rudyard Griffiths

Well put Alice. What is competition for if it is not to create goods and products consumer actually want. When we subsidize as massively as C-18 contemplates – if Google and Meta comply it would see newsrooms having half their payrolls funded by Big Tech and Big Government – the consumer loses.

15th September 2023 at 8:41 am
Gordon Divitt

The problem I have with this approach is that very local news will have real difficulty surviving and without their presence in the community local politicians and similarly suspect characters will have no-one checking up on their behaviour and experience tells me they will not improve their approach. Reference the Ford government and the Green Belt fiasco. If this can occur in full view of the media consider what might be going on behind closed doors

Maybe local news should become a public good and be directly subsidized (not quite sure by whom) the way we now think of child care

15th September 2023 at 10:17 am
Lauraine Howatt

cbc does a very good job for Canadians from sea, to sea, to sea. For its cost, Canadians are getting a bargain.

15th September 2023 at 10:59 am
Sean Speer

Journalism is an important part of Canada’s civic infrastructure. Few would dispute that.

But it’s not carved in ancient tablets anywhere (as far as I know) that the industry must look and work precisely the same way as it has in the past for the rest of humanity. It’s facing the same forces as Creative Destruction as other parts of our economy and society has in the past and will in the future.

Yet journalists – or more precisely traditional publishers – seem to think they’re somehow different. That they should be shielded from the disruptive combination of markets and technologies. That their current business models should essentially be locked in using a mix of government funding and government edict. Tell that to a former fisherman or forester or manufacturing worker. Change invariably happens. Deal with it.

As Peter Menzies writes this morning, that seems to be the sentiment of most Canadians. Today’s “boycott” of Meta should make it even plainer.

15th September 2023 at 7:58 am

I for one could care less if Canadian news is on Facebook. I ceased watching CBC,CTV, and Global more than a year ago and my life has been more peaceful and happier without all their Liberal and NDP propaganda. I watch Rebel, True North and a couple other independent agencies and have no trouble finding them on Youtube etc. I consider it a blessing that I don’t have to watch Canadian news on Facebook, thank you Mr. Zuckerberg, you are my hero!

15th September 2023 at 9:58 am
Lauraine Howatt

So the problem is… what should be the definition of news??? It certainly is not Rebel, True North… but then Meta cares not, so having them dumped is a benefit to Canadians. Menzies needs to offer something positive in support of our democratic health.

15th September 2023 at 10:57 am
Rudyard Griffiths

Fair point. There aren’t any easy solutions that is for sure. I have been intrigued by the tax voucher idea to the extend it would be consumer choice not government fiat that decides who benefits from the subsidy. Supposedly this was tried in France with limited success. The other alternative could be to expand what the government is already doing with something called RJOs. These are a new charitable designation that allows a not for profit media organization to raise money from charitable donations. Likely RJOs will not have the scale to replace large incumbent media orgs but they could certainly fill niches of news and information that people want. RJOs could also be a way to support local news – e.g. the local paper just becomes one of a series of public good charities in a local town or community. I guess my point is we don’t know what innovation look like until we try. C-18 is not about innovation. It is about freezing in place the current large incumbents and the demonstrably failing business models, full stop.

15th September 2023 at 11:41 am

Feel free to read my policy papers on the Macdonald-Laurier Institute website.

15th September 2023 at 12:31 pm
Al Raftis

The arrogance of this government and it’s leader has taken them down this ridiculous path. Now they are going to “force” food compamied to reduce the rate of inflation. They have consistently shown little comprehension of how the economy works and their actions mostly hurt the attractiveness of Canada as a place for business. All of us will suffer the consequences.

15th September 2023 at 9:28 am
Michael F

But the other guy blaming ‘gatekeepers’, the WEF and ‘Laurentian Elites’ is fine?

15th September 2023 at 3:54 pm
Stuart Thomson

So far, the main consequence of the government’s online news law is that Meta, the company that owns Facebook, has blocked Canadian news from its platform to avoid paying compensation to news organizations.

Peter Menzies writes about this ongoing PR battle today by mocking everyone involved, which is surely the best way to approach it.

What do you think: do mainstream media organizations deserve compensation? Or should Canadians be increasingly looking to small, independent media companies like The Hub? (We are slightly biased on that last question, admittedly).

15th September 2023 at 6:23 am
Karin M

I have Facebook and other news social media platforms. I also subscribe to a couple of newspapers and listen to radio and at times tv news. Do I miss reading on the social media platforms – nope. Too much is too much – we don’t need them. Unless they play fair I say adious.

15th September 2023 at 8:42 am
Bruce Westmoreland

Censorship comes at a cost. Well, who knew? Obviously not the Trudeau liberals.

15th September 2023 at 7:57 am
Lauraine Howatt

What censorship?????

15th September 2023 at 11:03 am
Ken C.

The liberals truely “missed the boat” with C-18. They should never have gone after Meta and Goggle and the rest…they’re not the problem. The “problem” are businesses who chose to put their imited advertising dollars into big tech. They should have “incentivised’ those entities to advertise in traditional media, like newspapers and “dis-incentivised” advertizing on big tech platforms and social media with income tax incentives that would tend to level the “benefit from advertising” playing field to put the news reporting organizations on a more equal level…or at least not at such a huge disadvantage.

15th September 2023 at 3:01 pm
Ange S

I’m completely okay with not being inundated with news posts about things I don’t care much about every time I use Meta services. I don’t often read or watch major news sources in Canada because they have been far too biased to give a full picture of any story. Journalism is important but not so much if every major part of it is sitting in the government’s wallet.

15th September 2023 at 2:41 pm
George Hinchliffe

I applaud Meta for standing up to the Trudeau Government and their obvious shakedown. Good for them. Trudeau is just upset hecant seize their bank accounts.

15th September 2023 at 10:40 am
Michael F

Is this really the level of discourse here?

15th September 2023 at 3:51 pm
Michael F

Funny how Meta was successfully able to block all Canadian news content from Canadians but yet they seemed completely inept at blocking racism, misinformation and hate speech in recent years. They are all about eyeballs and screen time and I’m sure it hasn’t escaped their attention that those stats are down since they had their little hissy fit.

15th September 2023 at 11:35 am
Ken C.

Depends what you mean by racism (and can I assume sexism and transphobia and etc ?) and “misinformation” Michael ? Meta was wonderfully effective…and quick…to block, suspend and “deplatform” anyone who expressed an opinion that varied from, or questioned, any of the current Critical Social Justice rhetoric and dogma but moved at glacial speeds responding to those who targeted anyone who was out of step with the woke mob…

15th September 2023 at 2:44 pm
Michael F

By racism I mean straight up racism, no double speak. You can easily see it on X since Musk took over. It’s a cesspool of bigotry and racism. And the misinformation I am referring too was the absolute garbage that was allowed during the last election cycle in the US and Canada. And the idiotic anti-vaccine, anti-science misinformation that was amplified during the pandemic. Does that qualify was woke?

15th September 2023 at 3:50 pm
David H

In the same way that we protect musicians with licensing fees when we play their music (ie: SOCAN and Resound), we should protect journalism in Canada.

I have read that the majority of newspaper articles are now read though social media platforms meaning Google and Meta who then make the ad revenue and not the newspapaers.

If Google shared 50% of it ads revenue with newspapers the same way it did with Apple for installing Google on iPhone’s, they should be able to do that for local media.

15th September 2023 at 7:59 am
Sean Speer

If Google and Meta figured out a model to outperform others in the advertising market, why does that oblige them to compensate those they outperformed?

15th September 2023 at 8:09 am
Michael F

The very same reason that it’s wrong that Peter Frampton got a cheque for $1,700 for 55 million streams of one of his hit songs on Spotify. Spotify didn’t create the content. Neither does Google or Meta.

15th September 2023 at 11:46 am

My understanding is that Google has offered to pay publishers 100% of the money they earn from giving them free access to online audiences. The offer failed because it’s less money than Google is paying them now.

15th September 2023 at 12:35 pm
norm – trying again…

If I have to listen to another journalist wringing their hands over the state of journalism and the media – I think I’m gonna lose it!

The fat lady has sung.

I’m excited about the new media landscape. It’s very messy, it’s challenging, and it’s time consuming to find new and trusted sources – but it’s well worth the effort imo.

The Liberal government seems to understand as much about “the media” as they do the price of eggs and butter.

Hat tip to everyone at the Hub.
I see green shoots.

16th September 2023 at 4:08 pm

If I have to listen to another journalist wringing their hands over the state of journalism and the media – I think I’m gonna lose it!

The fat lady has sung.

I’m excited about the new media landscape. It’s very messy, it’s challenging, and it’s time consuming to find new and trusted sources – but it’s well worth the effort imo.

The Liberal government seems to understand as much about “the media” as they do about the price of eggs and butter.

Hat tip to everyone at the Hub.
If I have to listen to another journalist wringing their hands over the state of journalism and the media – I think I’m gonna lose it!

The fat lady has sung.

I’m excited about the new media landscape. It’s very messy, it’s challenging, and it’s time consuming to find new and trusted sources – but it’s well worth the effort imo.

The Liberal government seems to understand as much about “the media” as they do the price of eggs and butter.

Hat tip to everyone at the Hub.
I see green shoots.

16th September 2023 at 4:07 pm
Michael F

I hope the people behind The Hub are paying attention here. More than one poster here lumped you in with Rebel News, True North, The National Post and other dubious ‘news’ sources as their preferred channels for information. These rage farming clickbait junk news sources are doing a disservice to the Canadian public when it comes to real reasoned debate about the issues facing this country.

15th September 2023 at 5:56 pm
Rudyard Griffiths

Noted. We welcome anyone interested in modelling better conversions based on civility and substance. The quality of conversation on Hub Forum since its launch Wednesday gives us encouragement that people are open to frank and respectful exchange. We love the Hub audience for this. U are special group of people in the best possible way. Thanks for reading and engaging. Greatly appreciated.

15th September 2023 at 6:26 pm

The crumbling is due to the feds and the media

15th September 2023 at 5:32 pm