Hamilton to stop posting on Facebook and Instagram


Published October 4, 2023 at 2:54 pm

instagram city hamilton
Photo: dlxmedia.hu

Those who use Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on City of Hamilton news, may not find many posts there soon.

Councillors in the General Issues Committee voted in favour of suspending all non-critical advertising campaigns on all Meta-owned platforms during the meeting today (Oct. 4). The City of Hamilton has about 45,000 followers on Instagram, and 1,600 followers on Facebook.

Ward 8 Councillor John-Paul Danko brought the proposal to the committee as a way to voice disapproval of the Meta news ban.

News stories currently cannot be shared on Meta sites following the introduction of the Online News Act (or Bill C-18), a bill meant to force big tech companies such as Google and Meta to compensate Canadian media outlets for news content appearing on their platforms.

In response to the Online News Act, Meta has blocked news posts for Canadians on its Facebook and Instagram platforms since Aug. 1.

At the meeting, Danko said big tech platforms such as Google and Meta earn advertising dollars with content from news organizations. He suggested the loss of that ad revenue is contributing to newsroom closures and disruption.

Danko said the federal government has recognized the “near-collapse of the local news system because of the tech platforms and how they have evolved over time.”

He acknowledged the move is a “symbolic action” but thought it is important to make a statement for journalism.

But Ward 1 Councillor Maureen Wilson countered saying Bill C-18 “purports to be about the importance of freedom of the press for democracy…” but she feels it’s not.

Wilson suggested many industries are experiencing similar disruptions to business models due to technology.

News stories posted on social media are still linked to the media organization’s website where there are advertisements, she added.

“There’s an opportunity still there,” she said.

But in the end, the committee voted in favour to suspend the City of Hamilton non-critical posts on Meta.

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