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Facebook hasn’t thanked Canada, but it should
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Facebook hasn’t thanked Canada, but it should

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27 mai 2019

FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting and The Yes Men are behind the satirical video which purports to show a Facebook executive thanking Canada for subsidies and special treatment.

Facebook Loves Canada

Logo for satirical Facebook Loves Canada campaign launched by FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting, in partnership with The Yes Men

For immediate release

Ottawa – A Facebook spokesperson has denied involvement with a video circulating online, featuring a fictitious Facebook executive thanking Canada for special treatment. This video is actually a satirical comment produced by FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting, in partnership with globally renowned hoaxsters, The Yes Men. The video highlights the extent to which Canada is generously subsidizing the likes of Facebook, while also exempting it from most of our laws, rules and standards.

Facebook Loves Canada (Yes Men hoax video)

We’re not just condoning Facebook’s bad behaviour – we’re actually supporting it with tax dollars

Daniel Bernhard
Directeur général et porte-parole des AMIS de la radiodiffusion

“The Facebook Loves Canada campaign isn’t real, but it should be: Canada is unique among developed nations in its permissive approach to Facebook”, says Daniel Bernhard, FRIENDS’ Executive Director. “We’re not just condoning Facebook’s bad behaviour – we’re actually supporting it with tax dollars. Canadian government subsidies to foreign digital ad platforms like Facebook cost us more than $1.6 billion in 2018 – more than we spent on the CBC and the new tax measures for journalism combined. FRIENDS is calling on the government to immediately close the internet advertising tax loophole that finances mega-rich US corporations at the direct expense of Canadian journalism. All major parties must make public commitments to keep the loophole closed for good.”

Facebook issued a denial about the veracity of the video

Facebook issued a denial about the veracity of the video

Andy Bichlbaum of The Yes Men portrays Carnibur Rossbud, supposedly Vice-President of Global Understanding at Facebook. “It's hard to believe, but everything in my fake Facebook announcement is 100% true," says Bichlbaum. “Reality is just that absurd. And when parody and reality are the same, people must stand up to correct the reality."

"This isn't fake news, because the whole point is to reveal the hoax, and just how absurd reality is," adds Bichlbaum.

FRIENDS released the video on the eve of an Ottawa meeting of the International Grand Committee of parliamentarians investigating Big Tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook. The UK-led Grand Committee will devote significant time to Facebook’s impact on journalism and democracy, having previously rebuked the company for “intentionally and knowingly” breaking laws, and for behaving like “digital gangsters”. Mark Zuckerberg is not expected to appear, despite a subpoena which calls on him to testify.

When parody and reality are hard to tell apart, people must stand up to correct the reality.

Andy Bichlbaum
One half of The Yes Men

“In the past year, other countries have taken swift action to rein in rogue giants like Facebook. They are being fined, taxed and regulated appropriately. And they are being held liable for publishing and promoting illegal content like the Christchurch Mosque murders, which Facebook live broadcast to a potential global audience of more than two billion people,” Bernhard said. “But not our government. All Canada can muster are empty promises to eventually do something – though what and when remain a mystery. FRIENDS made this video to draw attention to the stark disparity between what leadership looks like, and what Canada is doing. Carnibur Rossbud is a fiction, but the contents of his message are all too real.”

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting is a watchdog group advocating for Canadian public broadcasting, journalism and storytelling on air, and online. Friends enjoys the support of 364,000 Canadians and is not affiliated with any broadcaster or political party.

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For more information and interview requests, Jim Thompson | jim@friends.ca | 613-447-9592

Canadian Politicians react to satirical video about real Facebook subsidies