Google to Block News in Canada Over Law on Paying Publishers

Google said on Thursday it plans to block news on its platform in Canada, joining Facebook in escalating a campaign against a new law requiring payments to local news publishers. The company said that alphabet-owned (GOOGL.O) Google would remove links to Canadian news from search results and other products in Canada when the law takes effect in about six months. It will also end deals with local publications for its personalized aggregator, Google News, and Google Discover, a feature on mobile devices. It will also stop its News Showcase product in Canada, which licenses news from more than 150 local outlets.

The Canadian government has sought to compensate local news businesses after it says they suffered financial losses as platforms such as Google and Facebook dominated online advertising revenue. It estimates that news organizations could receive up to 330 million Canadian dollars ($249 million) annually through mandated agreements. The legislation, introduced by Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez last year, does not require companies to comply immediately, and the government has said it is open to consultations on its regulatory implementation process.

But in a blog post on Thursday, Kent Walker, the president of global affairs for Google and its parent company, Alphabet, called the bill “unworkable.” He said it put a price on links, creating uncapped financial liability for facilitating access to news content. It also required “structural issues to be resolved before a deal could be reached,” adding that the government had not provided assurances.

Meta, the owner of Facebook, made a similar announcement last week after the passage of Bill C-18, or the Online News Act. The bill, set to take effect in 2022, requires tech companies to negotiate licensing agreements with media outlets for news they display on their websites and other digital platforms. The government wants the deals to bring new revenues to a sector that has seen more than 450 newspapers close over the past decade.

The Canadian Association of Journalists accused the companies of shutting out the country’s journalists. “Google & Facebook have decided to be dictators of what information Canadians can search, discover and consume,” the group tweeted. The companies have signaled that they will restrict news availability if the law is enacted. Still, they hoped to resolve this through a dialogue with the government before the bill’s implementation process began.

The move highlights the growing tension between internet giants and traditional media, causing significant disruption in how people find and consume the news. The tension also highlights a broader debate about how much power these large tech corporations should wield over the online experience and the need to compensate news publishers fairly. It is a debate that will continue worldwide as countries grapple with ways to balance both these concerns. The dispute has also raised questions about how much control should rest with internet users, who increasingly demand greater freedoms from their providers.

Anthony Jones

Meet Anthony Jones, an accomplished writer with a passion for creating compelling content that engages, educates, and inspires readers. With years of experience in the industry, Anthony Jones has honed their skills in crafting content across various formats, including blog posts, articles, eBooks, and more.

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