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Recent­ly, you may have noticed that UMFM is no longer acces­si­ble on two of our most pop­u­lar social media chan­nels — Face­book and Insta­gram. This unfor­tu­nate sit­u­a­tion has come about because Meta (for­mer­ly known as Face­book) has tak­en the sig­nif­i­cant step in Cana­da of block­ing all news sources in the coun­try, affect­ing not only Face­book but also Insta­gram, with the fear that Google may also soon fol­low suit.

This deci­sion was report­ed in the news as of August 1, 2023 and con­tin­ues to shift and evolve. You can read more about it here:

For­tune: https://​for​tune​.com/​2023​/​08/01

CTV News: https://​www​.ctvnews​.ca/​b​u​sines…

Nation­al Post: https://​nation​al​post​.com/​news/…

You might be won­der­ing why Meta has tak­en such a dras­tic mea­sure. Accord­ing to these reports, there are a few key rea­sons behind this decision:

Dis­agree­ment Over News Con­tent: Meta has been in ongo­ing dis­putes with news orga­ni­za­tions over the con­tent dis­played on their plat­forms. These dis­agree­ments could not be resolved, lead­ing to the block­ing of news sources entirely.

Pro­posed Leg­is­la­tion: The sit­u­a­tion in Cana­da may be linked to pro­posed leg­is­la­tion that would have required social media com­pa­nies to pay for news con­tent shared on their plat­forms. Meta might have con­cerns about the poten­tial finan­cial impact and impli­ca­tions of this pro­posed law.

Mis­in­for­ma­tion and Fake News: With the rise of mis­in­for­ma­tion and fake news cir­cu­lat­ing on social media, Meta has faced crit­i­cism for its han­dling of such con­tent. Block­ing news sources might be an attempt to address these con­cerns and avoid poten­tial legal consequences.

It’s essen­tial to stay informed, and while this devel­op­ment might impact your access to news on Meta’s plat­forms, there are alter­na­tive sources to keep your­self updat­ed on cur­rent events. Make sure to fol­low cred­i­ble news out­lets direct­ly or use oth­er social media plat­forms for reli­able information.

Why does this impact Com­mu­ni­ty Radio Sta­tions like UMFM?

Not-For-Prof­it Radio was unan­i­mous­ly includ­ed in amend­ments to Bill C18 as it was passed because these sta­tions are required by license to cre­ate local news at 15%, the only license required to do so (Note the CRTC Clas­si­fies Local News under Spo­ken Word – this does not nec­es­sar­i­ly mean break­ing news but includes long-form and oth­er types as part of all Spo­ken Word.). Meta refused to meet with Campus/​Community Radio asso­ci­a­tions, and with the inclu­sion of them as man­dat­ed par­tic­i­pants in dis­cus­sion, these sta­tions were put on the ban list – even though they are not 100% news outlets.

Our col­lec­tive voic­es mat­ter! If you dis­agree with Meta’s deci­sion to block news sources in our coun­try, it’s cru­cial to take action and let your con­cerns be heard. You can make a dif­fer­ence by reach­ing out to your Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment (MP) and Meta directly. 

Con­tact your MP: As elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives, MPs are here to advo­cate for your inter­ests. Express your con­cerns about the impact of this news block on access to infor­ma­tion and the impor­tance of reli­able news sources. Urge them to engage in dia­logue with Meta and work towards a res­o­lu­tion that ben­e­fits both users and news orga­ni­za­tions. You can find your MP’s con­tact info here.

Con­tact the Her­itage Min­is­ter: New Her­itage Min­is­ter Pas­cale St-Onge has a chance to clean this bill up and make sure it actu­al­ly ben­e­fits Cana­di­ans — our friends at open​media​.org have put togeth­er a peti­tion that you can reach by fol­low­ing this link.

Reach out to Meta: Let Meta know how you feel about their deci­sion and its impli­ca­tions. Be respect­ful but assertive in voic­ing your oppo­si­tion to the news block and high­light the sig­nif­i­cance of access to diverse and trust­wor­thy news con­tent. Your feed­back can con­tribute to shap­ing their poli­cies and approach mov­ing forward.

Remem­ber, when con­tact­ing this folks, it’s imper­a­tive that you are polite and direct. They are receiv­ing a lot of cor­re­spon­dence on this and it’s easy to dis­miss any­thing that isn’t respect­ful, even if the sit­u­a­tion is frus­trat­ing. If you have any ques­tions, we are always reach­able at 2044747027 and can do our best to answer based on what we know.

Togeth­er, we can make a dif­fer­ence in ensur­ing that the public’s right to access reli­able infor­ma­tion is upheld. Let’s take action and stand up for an open and informed society!