Last year the Canadian government passed a law, the Online News Act, that would require platforms like Google and Meta to pay publishers for linking to their content. Rather than pay up, Meta removed news from Facebook and Instagram in Canada.

“News links and content posted by news publishers and broadcasters in Canada will no longer be viewable by people in Canada,” Meta said.

Months later, Canadian users appear to be doing pretty much fine with a news-less Meta, while publishers have suffered, according to a preprint paper released by The Media Ecosystem Observatory, a collaboration between McGill and the University of Toronto.

“We expected the disappearance of news on Meta platforms to have caused a major shock to the Canadian information ecosystem,” the paper’s authors— Sara Parker, Saewon Park, Zeynep Pehlivan, Alexei Abrahams, Mika Desblancs, Taylor Owen, Jennie Phillips, and Aengus Bridgman — write. But the shock appears to have been one-sided. While “the ban has significantly impacted Canadian news outlets,” the authors write, “Meta has deprived users of the affordance of news sharing without suffering any loss in engagement of their user base.”

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