Google has announced that it will remove links to Canadian news on its platforms in response to a new law that requires digital giants to compensate media outlets for sharing or repurposing their content. The decision will affect Google News and Google Discover, limiting Canadian users’ access to local news. The move comes after Meta (formerly Facebook) made a similar announcement last week. The Canadian Heritage Minister accused Google of trying to bully Canadians, while Google claims the law is “unworkable.” This article explores the implications of Google’s decision and the controversy surrounding the new online news law.
Google’s Response and Canadian Government Reaction
Google has informed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government of its decision to remove Canadian news links from its platforms. The tech giant claims that the new law, which requires digital companies to compensate news publishers for displaying their content, is unworkable. Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez criticized Google’s move, accusing the company of attempting to bully Canadians. He emphasized that big tech companies are not bigger than Canada. While Google did not specify when it will start removing news links, it is expected to happen before the law takes effect at the end of the year.
Impact on Canadian Users and Meta’s Similar Action
According to APN News, Google’s decision to remove Canadian news links will affect its Google News service, which provides personalized news aggregation, and Google Discover, a feature on mobile phones that helps users find content. However, the blocking will only apply to Canadian news, allowing Canadian users to still access content from international outlets. Meta (formerly Facebook) made a similar announcement last week, stating that it would remove news from its platforms and end existing deals with local publishers. Both companies are taking these measures in response to the Online News Act, which requires them to compensate news publishers for displaying their content.
Concerns and Criticisms from Google
Kent Walker, president of global affairs for Google and its parent company, Alphabet, has described the new law as “unworkable” and criticized its approach. Walker argued that the law effectively places a financial liability on links and poses significant challenges for facilitating Canadians’ access to news. Google has sought assurances regarding the potential costs and the bargaining process involved. The details of these agreements are expected to be clarified after the completion of the bill’s regulatory process. Walker emphasized that Google’s decision to remove news links was made after careful consideration, and the company aims to be transparent with Canadian publishers and users.
Support for the Online News Act and Concerns for the News Industry
The Online News Act has garnered support from legacy media and broadcasters, who believe it will promote fairness in the digital news marketplace and help address the financial struggles faced by newsrooms. The bill aims to ensure that news publishers receive compensation when their content is used by digital platforms to generate revenue. Tech giants like Meta and Google have faced criticism in the past for disrupting the advertising landscape and overshadowing traditional players. The new law seeks to rebalance the dynamics and create a more equitable environment for news publishers.