by: dan kellar
Waterloo – “We have not been able to engage with any of our listeners on those platforms… We’re just getting caught up in it and it is not very fair to us.” is how Radio Waterloo’s president Nat Persaud responded when asked by CKMS News about the effects of Meta’s actions which de-platformed and restricted the community radio station’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
Similar to many community radio station across the country, Radio Waterloo, also known as CKMS, started to see restrictions on Facebook posts in August, and by September the station’s Facebook posts and profile were not viewable by folks inside of Canada. In early October, Radio Waterloo’s Instagram account had the same restrictions.
Meta has introduced restrictions on their platforms in response to the Canadian government’s bill C-18, which became law in June 2023 and is on track to come into full force in December. The bill, known as the Online News Act, in part seeks to impose fees on large social media and search engine companies for allowing Canadian created news content to be shared as links on their platforms, in effect charging the internet companies for re-publishing content if they profit from the interaction through selling advertising space or collecting and selling user info.
At this time, only Google and Meta meet the triggering guidelines of the legislation, though if other companies increase their revenues or presence in Canada, they too would have to follow the new regulations. Google has said they will implement their reaction to C-18 in December, with the delisting of news from the platform.
For today’s show, CKMS News spoke with CKMS President Nat Persaud and CKMS News editor Bob Jonkman, who are both members of the station’s technical team, and Barry Rooke, the executive director of the National Community and Campus Radio Association. The interviews included questions about the effects of bill C-18 on station operations, adaptations to the social media restrictions (like joining the fediverse), and ideas of the role of the government in funding community radio and local news.
For more in-depth background and analysis on Bill C-18, lawyer Michael Geist has discussed C-18 thoroughly on his website and podcast, which you can find at michaelgeist.ca/tag/c-18/