Preliminary Findings on the Effects of Meta’s News Ban in Canada

Following the passage of the Online News Act, the Media Ecosystem Observatory studied the behaviour of Canadian Facebook and Instagram users. The resulting report (PDF) is a brief but useful read.

Sara Parker, et al. summarizing two of its findings:

The Facebook Pages of national news outlets lost approximately 64% of their Facebook engagement following the end of news availability for Canadian users. Local news outlets lost approximately 85%. Almost half of all local news outlets stopped posting on Facebook entirely in the four months following the ban. 

Engagement with politically relevant pages and groups has remained unchanged since the ban, suggesting politically-oriented users have not reduced their Facebook usage.

Surprised? Me neither.

According to these researchers’ findings, many users simply posted screenshots of news articles without a direct link, thereby depriving media outlets of even meagre ad revenue. Interestingly, among a set of known misinformation sources catalogued by the Global Disinformation Index, sharing of news-like nonsense also dropped following Meta’s policy change.