Meta’s News Blockade Has Minimal Impact on Canadian Facebook Users

In a surprising turn of events, Meta’s recent decision to block news links in Canada seems to have had little impact on Canadian users’ engagement with Facebook. Independent data from reliable tracking firms suggests that daily active users and time spent on the platform have remained relatively stable since the news blackout took effect at the beginning of August. This development comes amidst growing criticism from the Canadian government over Meta’s decision.

Usage Metrics Defy Expectations

Contrary to expectations, data provided by digital analytics firm Similarweb shows that Facebook’s popularity in Canada has not wavered significantly despite the absence of news content. Similarly,, another analytics company, has reported no meaningful change in user behavior on the platform throughout August. These early estimates appear to support Meta’s stance that news content might hold minimal value for their platform.

The Battle Over the Online News Act

At the heart of this standoff lies Canada’s Online News Act, a legislation passed in June that mandates internet giants like Meta and Google to negotiate financial arrangements with Canadian news publishers for the use of their content. Both Meta and Google have expressed their reservations about the law, deeming it impractical for their operations. Meta has particularly stressed that news links constitute less than 3% of content on its platform, asserting their negligible economic significance.

A Strategic Shift in Content Focus

This move is consistent with Meta’s broader strategy to shift away from news and civic content on its platforms. The company aims to cultivate a space that promotes lighter subjects such as fashion, entertainment, and sports. This transition has resulted in a marked decrease in news consumption on social media, as highlighted in recent reports by the Reuters Institute and Pew Research Center.

Changing Dynamics in News Consumption

Even before Meta’s news blackout in Canada, Facebook referrals to popular Canadian news sites had seen a decline of around 35% year-over-year in July and a substantial 74% drop since 2020, according to Similarweb data. Yet, Facebook’s transparency reports indicate that news content remains highly popular when it is present, at least in the United States, the only country for which Meta releases this data. A recent report revealed that in the first quarter, 13 out of the top 20 domains viewed on Facebook in the US were news websites.

Future Prospects and Negotiations

Meta ended news sharing on its Canadian services in early August, while Google plans to omit news from search results once the law comes into effect. While Canadian officials have criticized Meta for removing news content during a time of national need due to wildfires, quiet negotiations between the tech giants and the Canadian government continue in the background. Detailed rules regarding the implementation of the Online News Act are expected to be unveiled by late December, paving the way for platforms to finalize deals with publishers.

Looking Ahead

As the Canadian regulator prepares to establish a framework for negotiations between news organizations and tech giants, the stage is set for mandatory bargaining to commence by early 2025. The outcome of these negotiations and their broader impact on the digital news landscape remain to be seen. Meanwhile, Meta’s calculated step away from news content raises questions about the future direction of social media engagement and its potential implications for the news industry.

In a time of evolving digital landscapes and shifting priorities, the clash between technological innovation and traditional news consumption patterns continues to shape the intricate dance between social media giants and content publishers.



  1. By Meta to block news links in the country. However, it appears that despite the blockade, Canadian Facebook users have not been deterred. This raises questions about the importance of news content on the platform for Canadian users, and whether they are finding alternative sources of information. It remains to be seen how Meta and the Canadian government will resolve their differences regarding news links on Facebook.

  2. David Blake Avatar
    David Blake

    Despite the news blockade by Meta, it’s interesting to see that Canadian Facebook users seem relatively unaffected. This could highlight the platform’s resilience and the diverse ways people continue to engage with it. It’ll be intriguing to see how this situation evolves and whether other trends emerge in the coming days.

Join the Discussion

Discover more from Domain Magazine

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Verified by ExactMetrics