Media Insider: Meta blocks news in Canada, AFP sues Twitter, Variety updates CNN story

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s roundup of media news stories from the week.

Meta permanently ending news availability on its platforms in Canada
CBC | Darren Major

Meta has officially begun ending news availability on its platforms in Canada. The social media giant has been signaling the move was coming since the government passed its Online News Act, Bill C-18, in June. The law requires big tech giants like Google and Meta to pay media outlets for news content they share or otherwise repurpose on their platforms. The company had previously been blocking news content for some Canadians in preparation for C-18 becoming law; that is now being extended Canada-wide. Canadians will no longer be able to view or post news content on Facebook or Instagram. News outlets, including international ones, will start having their content blocked on those platforms. Implementing the changes on the company’s platforms is expected to take a few weeks.

More on Meta: The company’s oversight board ruled that Facebook needs stricter rules banning gender-based violence.

Agence France-Presse pursues copyright case against X, formerly known as Twitter
Associated Press

France’s international news agency, Agence France-Presse, says it is pursuing a copyright case against X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, in an effort to secure potential payment for its news content. AFP said it applied to a Paris court to compel Elon Musk’s rebranded company to provide data it says is needed “for assessing the remuneration owed to AFP.” The news agency is seeking payment under European Union intellectual property rules that cover “neighboring rights,” which allow news outlets and publishers to seek payment from digital platforms for the sharing of their work. In a tweet, Musk called the case “bizarre.”

Speaking of Twitter, subscribers to Twitter Blue can now hide their blue checkmark.

Variety Updates Controversial CNN Story After Jeff Zucker Calls for Retraction
TheWrap | Natalie Korach

The fallout from Tatiana Siegel’s Variety article that has captivated the media industry continues, as Variety quietly added updates to the piece. The article received backlash from many — including The Atlantic’s Tim Alberta, Puck News co-founder John Kelley, and Jeff Zucker himself — with some calling for Variety to retract the story, which claims former CNN CEO Zucker has spent the last year courting billionaires to secure funding in an effort to purchase CNN. On Friday afternoon, Variety added updates to the story in order to “reflect new statements from Kelly and Alberta.” Variety also added a paragraph to the section about Puck News and Dylan Byers, whose journalistic integrity was questioned throughout the article. Notably, the updates to the article did not include any corrections to the subject matter regarding Zucker, who requested a retraction from Variety on Wednesday.

Speaking of CNN: A federal judge in Florida dismissed a lawsuit against the network by Donald Trump.

Times Media Group Acquires Picket Fence Media
MediaPost | Ray Schultz

Times Media Group, which owns 35 publications throughout Arizona and Southern California, has acquired Picket Fence Media, publisher of the San Clemente Times and other Southern California titles. The terms were not disclosed. Times Media Group will continue operating the Picket Fence Media publications from that firm’s address in Capistrano Beach. Picket Fence Media was founded in 2005 by Norb Garrett, who has run it since then with his wife Alyssa, group manager. Times Media Group publishes such news products as the Pasadena Weekly, LA Downtown News, The Argonaut in Santa Monica, and the Ventura County Reporter. It also owns AZ Integrated Media, a media distribution and custom publishing provider.

Also from MediaPost: Blaze Media has acquired Return and Align, two new media brands from venture firm New Founding.

Signs of optimism shine through the bleak ad market
Axios | Sara Fischer

Following a year of historically slow growth, analysts believe the ad market is finally beginning to improve. The slowdown in the ad market contributed to a massive sell-off across the media, entertainment, and technology sectors last year. That resulted in a record number of layoffs and various cost-cutting measures at media and tech companies in 2022 and early 2023. Analysts are optimistic that advertising growth will improve in the second half of the year, with data showing the economy moving in the right direction. Of note: Traditional publishers in print, television, and radio continue to face weaker prospects compared to digital publishers, but those losses will continue to be offset by strong digital gains, contributing to overall positive growth in the U.S. and global ad markets this year.

Read next: How publishers are using generative AI to streamline and improve revenue operations.

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Maria Perez is director of web operations at Cision. In her spare time, she enjoys gaming, watching too much TV, and chasing squirrels with her dog Cece.

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