Meta’s Position on Bill C–18

Meta says Nick Clegg — its president of global affairs and the former Deputy Prime Minister of the U.K. — would have spoken before a Canadian committee in response to Bill C–18, but:

Late on Thursday, the committee notified Meta that the title of the hearing had changed to ‘Tech Giants’ Current and Ongoing Use of Intimidation and Subversion Tactics to Evade Regulation in Canada and Across the World’. Clearly, it would be a very different hearing to the one Nick Clegg was invited to. As such, we have notified the committee that he will no longer be appearing. Meta representatives in Canada will attend the hearing.

Amazing. I appreciate the pointed title change.

In lieu of Clegg’s appearance, Meta published his full prepared remarks. They are roughly what you would expect, but I think this is worth quoting:

I spent 20 years of my life as a legislator, so I understand how difficult it is to craft good policy and sensible legislation. In this instance, I believe C-18 is flawed legislation which would deliver bad economic policy too. The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates that most of the funds generated by the Act will go to broadcasters, not the local and regional publishers it was supposed to support. It’s Robin Hood in reverse. The Act would subsidize big broadcasters at the expense of independent publishers and digital news sites, skewing the playing field so it’s even harder for smaller players.

Should this link tax pass, Clegg reiterated Meta would prevent links to news articles from being posted on Facebook and Instagram.