With a Canadian law being drafted that is similar to the one moving forward in Australia, I have been watching this story intently. My hope has been that Canadian lawmakers will see the responses to these policies and adjust theirs accordingly. I am particularly concerned about its effects on local media, like the excellent Sprawl here in Calgary.
Third, this incident provides an important reminder that independent and smaller media will bear the biggest brunt of these policies. The reality is that the Australian battle really pits Facebook against Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. In other words, giant vs. giant. In Canada, the large media companies such as Postmedia and Torstar are the most vocal lobbyists on this issue, but smaller, independent media have already indicated that they do not support the News Media Canada lobbying campaign and want the benefit of links from social media services.
These policy proposals seem to fundamentally misunderstand the use of links on the web. This is entirely speculative, but I have long wondered if the appearance of Open Graph tags has anything to do with confusion about what is part of Facebook and what is third-party material. Link previews have repeatedly been associated with bad framing and untrustworthy practices. I wonder if these thumbnails may also blur the lines too much with what most people consider an external link.