RAVEN will NOT allow Meta to gut our public square!

You may have encountered a message when trying to share content from Canadian news sources like the Narwhal, Watershed Sentinel, the Tyee, or even the Globe and Mail that says: “People in Canada can’t see this content. In response to Canadian government legislation, news content can’t be viewed in Canada.” 

You may be thinking…wait? Can Meta actually do that?

Well they can. And they did.

Meta’s (formerly Facebook) response to Canada’s Bill C-18 — which was an attempt to charge the big social media platforms a tiny amount for posting content from Canadian news outlets — has been extreme. Rather than pay the small amounts that it would cost to compensate writers, investigative journalists, content creators, and creatives of all stripes, Meta has decided to unilaterally block anyone from sharing or posting content from Canadian news sites. 

We can’t allow a blackout of the brave voices who are alerting us to climate disaster.  We must amplify stories from Indigenous-led movements taking a stand for environmental justice and land rights. Independent news providers have already been struggling and closing doors in this country. Those who have put together innovative new subscriber-supported models —  like the Narwhal and Tyee — rely on readers to champion the stories their fearless journalists tell. 

Now, even if you are a subscriber and pay for content, Meta/Instagram are preventing you from sharing reader-supported stories with people in your network. This is true for some of our other favourite providers like the Discourse, Walrus, Focus, Briarpatch, and also the big players like Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail.

Media producers are being hit hard by this. But you and I are also being robbed of important coverage and the ability to spread the word about critical campaigns and breaking news.

Imagine a world where a small Indigenous Nation is being raided by the RCMP — it’s not such a stretch, is it? 

Now imagine that when journalists at the forefront of events report on what’s going on, and their stories meet only firewalls. This is blatant censorship and a violation of ALL our rights by corporations who have an interest in distracting us and keeping us focused only on the trivialities that earn them huge profits.

We cannot allow Meta to restrict the sharing of important and relevant information to our RAVEN community members.

We take inspiration from the northwest coast stories of Raven, the trickster bird known for entering into situations that are calamitous and uncomfortable and —  through mischief, disobedience, and wisdom — reshapes and transforms the world. 

We refuse to accept Meta’s censorship of fierce independent voices who are covering crucial Indigenous and environmental stories in Canada. So: we will be publishing a weekly news round up on our blog so that you can at least get a taste of what’s being covered — and what’s being hidden — by big tech whose greed must be challenged. Subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss any of these recaps.

But this is a band-aid on a gaping wound.

Canada must not give in to the strong-arm tactics of Meta. Their terms are worse than any mobster creditor: Meta is essentially saying, “give us your content for free so that we can profit from it, or we will make you disappear.” This totalitarian approach violates all of our rights, and we will not stand for it.

There are better options than this sadly predictable standoff. 

Meanwhile, go to the websites of your favourite indie media outlet and read the news. After all, despite Meta’s bullying behaviour, it’s your right.

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