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Google Joins Meta in Blocking Canadian News Links Over New Law

The new law aims to address the financial losses suffered by news businesses as Facebook and Google dominated the online advertising market.

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Google announced its decision to remove links to Canadian news from search results and related products in response to the recently enacted Online News Act, also known as Bill C-18. The law requires tech giants like Google and Meta to pay publishers for displaying links to news content. The move by Google follows a similar action taken by Meta earlier this month.

Google expressed its concerns about the legislation, stating that it is the wrong approach to supporting journalism in Canada. The company argued that paying publishers for showing links to news could create uncertainty for its products and expose them to unlimited financial liability for facilitating access to news.

The law, which is set to take effect in six months, aims to address the financial losses suffered by news businesses as Facebook and Google dominated the online advertising market. The legislation mandates that news businesses could receive around 330 million Canadian dollars ($249 million) annually from deals with tech companies.

In response to Google’s decision, Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, who introduced the bill, criticized the tech giants, accusing them of using “bullying tactics” and prioritizing blocking access to the news and overpaying their fair share to news organizations. He emphasized that Google’s move showed how “deeply irresponsible and out of touch” the company is, especially considering the significant revenue it generates from Canadian users.

In a blog post, Kent Walker, Google’s President of Global Affairs stated that the law remains unworkable and that the company does not believe the regulatory process can resolve the structural issues with the legislation. As a result, Google will be removing links to Canadian news from its Search, News, and Discover products in Canada. The affected news outlets will be determined based on the government’s definition of “eligible news businesses.”

Furthermore, Google will also terminate its News Showcase program in Canada, which currently has agreements with over 150 news publications across the country. This program provides news panels produced in collaboration with publishers, including Reuters.

It remains to be seen how this decision by Google will impact the news landscape in Canada and how the government will respond to the company’s move. The dispute between tech giants and news publishers regarding fair compensation for news content continues to unfold, raising essential questions about the future of journalism and the relationship between news organizations and digital platforms.


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