Google Joins Meta In Killing News In Canada

Google says it will block Canadian news following passage of the Online News Act, C-18. 

“Unfortunately, we've made the difficult decision that when Bill C-18 takes effect, we will remove Canadian news links from our Search, News and Discover products.”

The law requires that tech platforms compensate publishers for linking to their content. 

Meta, living up to threats it made earlier, also announced it is removing news from its Facebook and Instagram platforms.

The timing is not clear: The law may not take effect for months. 

Google’s move follows days of negotiations with Canada’s Liberal government, writes. 

Reuters reports an estimate by the independent budgetary watchdog in Canada that news businesses could receive about C$330 million ($249 million) per year “from deals mandated under the legislation.”

According to CTV, Google will remove news links from its search engine, Google News and Google Discover for Canadian publishers and readers.

Google will also end Google News Showcase through which it licenses news from over 150 local publishers in Canada.  
"Once the law takes effect, we wouldn't anticipate continuing the agreements," Kent Walker, president of global affairs for Google and its parent company Alphabet, told CTV. "We won't have a news product to be able to feature, (and) the agreements are premised on the ability to showcase Canadian news."

In addition, Meta said Wednesday it is terminating a contract with The Canadian Press to support the hiring of a of emerging journalists. The program has funded 30 reporting fellowship positions since its start in 2020. 

The tech giants argue that they help local news publishers by linking to their content. 

They have also threatened to block news in California if that state passes a similar bill. 

In Australia, the tech firms struck deals with news publishers followed similar threats and the blocking of news for nearly a week, NPR reports. 

It remains to be seen which side will blink first in the Canada standoff. 

News is a relatively small feature on the tech platforms—an estimate puts it at 3% on Facebook and Instagram.

Moreover, critics argue that negotiation programs could be taken over by fake news sites.

"At a moment when disinformation swirls in our public discourse, ensuring public access to credible journalism is essential, so it's deeply disappointing to see this decision from Google and Meta," Liz Woolery, who leads digital policy at PEN America, an organization that supports freedom of expression, told NPR. 



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