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Online News Act’s impact on agriculture

Online News Act’s impact on agriculture

Canadians are caught in the middle of a battle between tech giants and the government.

By Denise Faguy
Farms.com

The Canadian Government recently passed the Online News Act (Bill C-18). In response, Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta, as well as Google, have said they will ban all Canadian news content from their platforms.

At Farms.com, we believe that while the intent of the law is understandable, the outcome is not acceptable.

Why should the agriculture industry care? The answer is simple: if you like reading agriculture and farming news and staying up-to-date on the latest crop reports, markets news, machinery news, how-to videos, etc., then you will notice the changes. When you search on these platforms for “Deere S680 combine sells for top dollar at auction,” the popular article posted by Farms.com on July 14 will not appear in your search results.

Indeed, you may have already started to receive messages that say "People in Canada can't see this content."

People in Canada can't see this content

A recent poll by Angus Reid suggests that while Canadians believe in the law in principle -- that Big Tech should pay their fair share -- three in five Canadians say they are concerned about losing access to Canadian news on Facebook and Google.

Let’s be clear: Farms.com Media and Publishing agree that these companies should pay their fair share, but we are concerned that our business will get caught in the middle of the battle between the Canadian government and the tech giants and that there will be many unintended consequences.

Farms.com will see a significant impact on pageviews to our website portal as a result. That matters because, at Farms.com, we generate money (to pay our talented employees, website servers, etc., as well as hopefully make a profit) by selling banner ad impressions. If our pageviews go down, our banner ad impressions go down, and thus our revenue goes down.

We are not alone; Farms.com's Canadian competitors are on the same playing field; we will all lose.

The Farms.com group is not suggesting we know the answer to the conundrum, but we know the current situation is not going to work.

What can you do about the Canadian News Act?

The tech giants have succeeded due to their ability to gather news for every kind of reader. However, at the risk of seeming self-serving, there are other ways in which you can ensure you continue to have access to Farms.com Canadian ag content:

  • Subscribe to our various free newsletters that we will send to your email account
  • Make Farms.com your default homepage on your browser
  • Download the Farms.com news app on your phone
  • Follow us on Twitter, now known as X. (As of now, Twitter, or X, has not indicated it will take any action. @Ontag in Ontario and @FarmsPrairies in the prairies.)

We also encourage you to reach out to your local MPs and tell them action needs to be taken.

If you need help subscribing to newsletters or downloading our app – please call us at 888-248-4893, ext 281, and we will help you subscribe. Try getting help by calling Google!


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