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Meta: Bug briefly blocked news for Canadian Threads users

What To Know

  • Meta has successfully addressed a bug that temporarily hindered some Threads users in Canada from accessing and sharing news on the app.
  • In August, Meta took the step of blocking news on Facebook and Instagram in Canada, responding to the country’s Online News Act, which mandates platforms to compensate news organizations for lost advertising revenue.
  • Despite Meta’s attempt to downplay the significance of news on Threads — with Instagram head, Adam Mosseri stating earlier this year that the company didn’t want to “amplify news” on the platform.
  • A Threads user named Dexter voiced frustration after encountering the bug, questioning, “How will Threads replace Twitter when I can’t even click on a news story in Canada without getting blocked by Meta.

Meta has successfully addressed a bug that temporarily hindered some Threads users in Canada from accessing and sharing news on the app. A spokesperson for the company informed that, despite Meta’s earlier decision to remove news content from Canadian users’ Facebook and Instagram feeds, this restriction did not extend to Threads.

However, confusion arose among Threads users when alerts suggested otherwise. Notices bearing Threads branding stated, “People in Canada can’t view this content,” and implied that the inability to access news content was linked to Canadian government legislation.

The extent and duration of the bug remain unclear, with reports emerging on Monday and some users still facing difficulties viewing links as of Tuesday morning. Pedro Marques expressed concern in a post on Monday, stating, “Well… that sucks. @meta is escalating their news blocking in Canada, previously only on Facebook and Instagram, now on Threads.”

Meta responded to these concerns by explaining that, for now, the framework of the Online News Act does not apply to Threads. Nevertheless, the appearance of such notices has fueled speculation that Meta might consider extending news content blocks to Threads.

Meta acknowledges a bug that briefly blocked news for Canadian users on Threads

In recent years, major tech companies globally have grappled with various countries over the issue of compensating news outlets. In 2021, Facebook prevented users in Australia from sharing news links, while Google contemplated excluding Australian news publishers from Google News.

Threads

Ultimately, both companies agreed and committed to financially supporting Australian news organizations. In August, Meta took the step of blocking news on Facebook and Instagram in Canada, responding to the country’s Online News Act, which mandates platforms to compensate news organizations for lost advertising revenue.

Google, after initially intending to block news links, ultimately struck a deal with the Canadian government, agreeing to pay Canadian publishers approximately $100 million annually, as reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Despite Meta’s attempt to downplay the significance of news on Threads — with Instagram head, Adam Mosseri stating earlier this year that the company didn’t want to “amplify news” on the platform. The potential blocking of news on Threads could have more profound implications than it did on Instagram and Facebook.

Threads has amassed around 100 million users as an increasing number of people seek alternatives to Twitter. However, blocking news on Threads may diminish the app’s utility for both users and publishers who have experienced growing engagement on the platform.

A Threads user named Dexter voiced frustration after encountering the bug, questioning, “How will Threads replace Twitter when I can’t even click on a news story in Canada without getting blocked by Meta.”

While Meta has successfully addressed the bug affecting Threads users in Canada, the incident has raised concerns about potential future news content blocks on the platform. The ongoing global debate on compensating news organizations continues to impact major tech companies, with each navigating its unique challenges and reaching agreements with governments.

The implications of such decisions, as seen in the case of Threads, underscore the delicate balance between content accessibility and regulatory compliance.

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