Google said it would shut down its Google News service in Canada and block links to news in its search engine after a law passed that would remove the ability to link freely to publisher content and force it to pay Canadian publishers for links to news.
The company said free linking -- which allows someone to click on a link and immediately access the source of that information -- was the main innovation of the web.
“We have now informed the Government that when the law takes effect, we unfortunately will have to remove links to Canadian news from our Search, News and Discover products in Canada,” Kent Walker, president of Global Affairs at Google, wrote in a post.
The move comes a week after Meta pulled its news feed, saying it would follow through on its promise to block links to news on its Facebook and Instagram in Canada.
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau earlier accused Google and Meta, the only companies covered by the law, of bullying local politicians with threats to pull out.
Three years ago, Australia experienced similar issues, but the companies resolved the dispute in a last-minute change to that country’s proposed online news law.
This paved the way for Google and Meta to negotiate private deals with some of the country’s publishers.
“Bill C-18 has become law and remains unworkable,” Walker wrote. “The Government has not given us reason to believe that the regulatory process will be able to resolve structural issues with the legislation. As a result, we have informed the Government that we have made the difficult decision that when the law takes effect, we will be removing links to Canadian news from our Search, News, and Discover products and will no longer be able to operate Google News Showcase in Canada.”
Google also posted a Q&A on the Bill C-18 and what it means. The company said it, and other companies like Google, have been able to link freely between websites for more than 30 years, and the ability has been “fundamental to how the open web works.”
Walker said Google has successfully collaborated with governments and news publishers worldwide on shared goal of strengthening the news industry, and it already has thousands of mutually beneficial agreements with news publications around the world.