With news availability ending on Facebook and Instagram for Canadian social media users, there are questions surrounding whether this could impact how local breaking news updates are disseminated and with what kind of speed that is done; especially when it comes to public safety messaging.

Strathmore Now reached out to the RCMP for comment and in an emailed statement, the National Communication Services RCMP spokesperson stated that the RCMP complies with the Government of Canada’s policies and recommendations for the use of social media.

"As such, the RCMP continues to publish its content on a variety of channels to communicate with the public about investigations and public safety issues. Social media is used in addition to established methods, such as news releases and press conferences, to raise awareness, solicit assistance from the public in investigations and issue safety messages," the RCMP wrote.

The spokesperson added that Mounties use a variety of Government of Canada-approved social media platforms to reach a wider audience, and in the event that one platform ceases operation or has changes that affect its use and RCMP regularly review new social media networks and assess, on a case by case basis, if the platform will assist in their communications objectives.

"As these channels are owned by private companies, the terms of use and content curation mechanisms are within the control of the platform. We advise Canadians to check the RCMP’s website for official statements and verified information."

"We value our long-established relationship with members of the media who are critical partners in helping to keep the public informed of developing issues in a timely manner," the statement concluded.

Earlier this month, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram stated that in response to Canadian legislation, they would be ending news availability to Canadian users of the social media platforms. 

"News links and content posted by news publishers and broadcasters in Canada will no longer be viewable by people in Canada. We are identifying news outlets based on legislative definitions and guidance from the Online News Act," Meta stated.

News publishers and broadcasters outside of Canada will continue to be able to post news links and content, however, that content will not be viewable by Canadians. Meta added that Canadians can continue to access news online by going directly to news publishers’ websitesdownloading mobile news apps, and subscribing to their preferred publishers.

"Meta collaborated with Québec digital literacy expert Nellie Brière to equip people with information about how they can continue to access local news and information online."

Earlier this week, News Media Canada, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters and CBC/Radio-Canada applied to Canada’s Competition Bureau to investigate what they say is Meta’s abuse of its dominant position.

“Meta’s conduct will inevitably diminish Canadian news consumers’ exposure to news content and the volume of traffic to Canadian news organizations’ websites, thereby impairing their ability to compete for revenue from online advertising and from their readers," stated the Canadian Association of Broadcasters in a release.

They underlined that Facebook and Instagram account for more than 70 per cent of the online social media market in Canada.

Meta stated they made it clear to the Canadian government that the legislation misrepresents the value news outlets receive when choosing to use their platforms.

"...Legislation is based on the incorrect premise that Meta benefits unfairly from news content shared on our platforms when the reverse is true. In contrast, we know the people using our platforms don’t come to us for news."

Google also issued a statement in late June. Kent Walker, President of Global Affairs, Google & Alphabet wrote that when the law would take effect, Google would have to remove links to Canadian news from the Search, News and Discover products in Canada.

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