Google to release news links in Canada after payment of the publishers

July 4, 2023: On Thursday, Google stated that it plans to block Canadian report on its platform in Canada, joining Facebook in escalating a campaign against a new law requiring payments to local news publishers.

Alphabet-owned Google will draw links to Canadian news from search results and other products in Canada when the law takes effect in about six months. Facebook-owner Meta Platforms made a similar announcement last week following the passage of Bill C-18, or the Online News Act.

Canada’s media industry has reached for tighter regulation of internet giants to let new businesses to recoup financial losses suffered in the years that Facebook and Google gained a more significant share of the online advertising market.

The independent budgetary watchdog in Canada estimated last year that news companies could receive about 330 million Canadian dollars, or $249 million, per year from deals mandated under the legislation.

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, who introduced the bill last year, has said the platforms have no obligations under the act immediately and that the country was open to consulting with them on the regulatory and implementation process.

Facebook and Google stated that the proposals were unsustainable for their businesses and for months signaled possibly ending news availability in Canada unless the act was amended.

Canada’s federal government has pushed back against suggestions to make changes, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in June accused the companies of using “bullying tactics.”

“Big tech would rather spend money to change their platforms to block Canadians from accessing good grade and local news instead of paying their fair share to news organizations,” Rodriguez said in a statement on Thursday.

“This demonstrates how irresponsible and out of touch they are, especially when they make billions of dollars off Canadian users.”

Google’s president of global affairs, Kent Walker, said in a blog post that the law remains unworkable and that the company did not believe the regulatory approach would be able to resolve “structural issues with the legislation.”

“We have now informed the government that when the law takes effect, we, unfortunately, will keep to remove links to Canadian news from our Search, News, and Discover products in Canada,” Walker said.

The news outlets affected by Google’s decision would be based on the government’s definition of “eligible news businesses” when rules are finalized for performance.

 

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