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ROZ’S RANT – Not Necessarily the News

Putting aside the fact that I’m a journalist and part owner of an independent newspaper, Meta’s decision to block my access to Canadian news feeds does not sit well with me for a few reasons. During Hurricane Fiona, when I was researching insurance laws and emergency practices and similar topics for stories I was writing or editing, Meta sent a tremendous amount of advertising for insurance companies my way. These days it skews towards dog accessories and online classes that might interest me, but the bulk of my feed is news content because I am a news junkie and curiosity is my default setting. That all stopped yesterday, but the hyper-personalized ads didn’t. In fact, because so much of my content was blocked when I clicked on what links came through, the amount of advertising on my feed skyrocketed. What I was left with were birthday notices, local marketplace sellers, and two content creators that I followed to Meta from Twitter a few years ago. Because I stopped enjoying the platform, I withdrew from it almost entirely. I’ve got my account left up to contact family and friends, but I turfed almost everyone off my feed who I don’t interact with or know offline. I know you’re blaming Justin Trudeau, but that’s just lazy. This showdown between the social media giant and the news industry has been brewing for years, and if you believe otherwise you’ve never read a single news article about how the industry has been affected by social media. Trudeau simply drew the line in the sand for us. Had he chosen to agree to Meta’s and Google’s terms, and let them continue to monetize every link I post, I’d be writing the opposite. If you go to Google and Meta and look for any Canadian news story, past or future, including our stories about Fiona or the Stephenville Airport sale or wind energy, you are going to get a blank. They won’t even find our newspaper because to them we no longer exist. The only way to find us is to know we already exist, or for us to buy an ad on the very platforms that won’t show you that we exist. Content creators drive engagement on Meta, and engagement entices advertisers. Meta and Google’s choice of the “nuclear option” is on them. Nobody is making them do this in response to anything. They are choosing to do it. Before all of this, I used to see posts every day about “choosing your reality” and “choosing how you respond”. They made their choice. The Wreckhouse Weekly will not support social media giants that seek to overturn federal legislation designed to protect us, so that they can make money off our work, for free.

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