Canadians support government action against Google and Facebook

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Recent research confirms that Canadians feel Google and Facebook have become too powerful and more than eight out of ten believe that the government should take legislative action to level the digital playing field. Canadians value news media and the local news that is published by daily and community newspapers across our country.

Canada’s local news publishers, big and small, came together to urge the federal government – and MPs of all parties – to join with democracies around the world in fighting Google and Facebook’s relentless attacks against local news.

The two web giants use their monopoly positions to deny local newspapers the revenues – primarily from advertising – that pays for real journalism (outlined in the report above). Google and Facebook combined collect 80% of all online revenues in Canada.

Google has a monopoly over every step of buying and selling digital advertising. Since 2001 Google has aggressively acquired digital display advertising technology companies that posed any threat. Former competitors have been integrated into their global ecosystem. Google now controls and derives revenue from every aspect of the digital advertising supply chain for publishers and advertisers.

As part of the ongoing Levelling the Digital Playing Field initiative, News Media Canada commissioned a national public opinion survey from H+K Strategies, conducted in January of 2021.

The survey assessed the public’s awareness and understanding of the financial challenges faced by Canadian news media publishers, including those resulting from the fact that Facebook and Google take 80% of online advertising revenue in this country. The research also asked Canadians about the implications they believe this situation has in areas such as the availability of local news, the health of Canadian democracy and civil discourse, jobs, and Canadian culture.

Highlights of the survey results include:

  • Canadians value news media: 69% of respondents say they are interested in local news and 59% believe that newspapers “make a significant contribution to Canada, its people, its politics and its history”.
  • Generally, Canadians have more positive views of community newspapers, daily newspapers, and journalism (an average of 55%) than they do of Google and Facebook (an average of 46%).
  • 70% of Canadians believe that Facebook and Google have “gotten too powerful”.
  • 49% are worried about the loss of Canadian news publishers, with the main drivers of concern being the loss of reliable national news, a less informed citizenry, and the loss of jobs.
  • 82% of respondents support government taking legislative action to level the digital playing field between Canadian news media publishers and the web giants, Facebook and Google.

H+K Strategies surveyed 1,000 randomly selected adult residents of Canada from Leger Opinion online survey panel, the largest proprietary panel in Canada. The survey data was weighted using to ensure representativeness by age, gender and province. An associated margin of error for a probability-based sample of n=1,000 is ±3.5%, 19 times out of 20.

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