July 10, 2023 – An escalating tug of war between the Liberal government and Big Tech – with Canadian news content in the middle – is heating up an already hot summer in Canada.
New data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds Canadians aligned in principle with the concept of going after so-called “Big Tech” to “pay their fair share”, something touted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in recent weeks. But many are concerned about the consequences of the Liberal government’s proposed solution, the Online News Act, which seeks to force Meta (Facebook), Alphabet (Google), and others, to spend millions to access and share Canadian content.
Three-in-five Canadians (61%) say Big Tech should compensate Canadian organizations when their content is shared, given that those platforms benefit from vast advertising dollars that may have gone to the original creators, but are increasingly concentrated in the hands of tech companies.
That said, more than three-in-five (63%) are also concerned about losing access to Canadian news on Facebook and Google.
This in turn has half (48%) of Canadians directing the federal government to “back down” in its battle with Big Tech, while one-quarter say Ottawa should stand firm (26%) and the same number (25%) are unsure of the best path forward.
For Canadians, the loss of Google and Facebook as news vehicles would be considerable. Each is used by more than two-in-five Canadians daily for news, a proportion higher than all other platforms and websites.
More Key Findings
Choice of news
Asked what source they are most likely to go to first to look for Canadian news content if they had to choose one or two, national Canadian news sites (32%), Facebook (28%), and Google News (23%) are the top choices.
Paying for news
Only about 15 per cent of Canadians say they currently pay for an online news subscription to a Canadian site.
Three-quarters of past Conservative voters (75%) would reverse course on Bill C-18, the Online News Act, while just one-in-three past Liberal (32%) and NDP (34%) voters would take this action.
The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from July 4-6, 2023 among a representative randomized sample of 1,610 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI.
For detailed results by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here.
For detailed results by which news source Canadians visit daily, how closely they are following Bill C-18 and other cross tabulations, click here.
To read the full report, including detailed tables and methodology, click here.
To read the questionnaire, click here.
From the Angus Reid Institute, Canada’s non-profit foundation committed to independent research.For detailed breakdown of the results, visit angusreid.org