Google to Block Canadian News in Response to New Law on Tech Giants.

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Google Takes Action: Blocking Canadian News in Response to Online News Act

Google has announced that it will block Canadian news in the country as a direct response to the newly passed Online News Act. This legislation requires tech giants such as Google and Meta’s Facebook to negotiate agreements with news providers, aiming to secure fair compensation for Canadian media.

Meta’s Move and the Australian Precedent

Following Meta’s announcement of restricting news content for Canadian users, Google has now followed suit. The Online News Act is scheduled to come into effect in six months. In a similar context, Australia passed a law two years ago, but subsequent changes were made after Meta briefly blocked news sharing and viewing on its platforms in the country. Negotiations and amendments resulted in over 30 deals between Google, Meta, and Australian media companies.

Google’s Response and Engagement with the Canadian Government

Google had previously voiced concerns about the feasibility of the Canadian law in its current form and proposed amendments. Discussions between Google, Meta, and the government regarding the legislation have taken place. However, in response to Google’s decision, the Canadian government has emphasized the importance of fair compensation for struggling news outlets and asserted the necessity of enhancing fairness in the Canadian digital news market.

Impact on Canadian Media Outlets and Traffic

This development presents a potential threat to media associations and outlets that supported the bill, as Google is a significant source of web traffic for Canadian news platforms. Notably, Google accounts for 30% of traffic to the Globe and Mail and 40% of traffic to Le Devoir, a prominent French-language publication. The duration of Google’s ban on local news links and the presentation of non-Canadian news stories to Canadian users remain unspecified.

Google’s Stance and Ongoing Engagement

While Google’s ban on Canadian news links is imminent, the company expressed its intent to participate in the regulatory process and maintain transparency with Canadian publishers and users. The Google Canada policy team indicated that they have not been given reason to believe that the regulatory process will resolve the underlying issues with the legislation. News Media Canada, representing numerous news organizations, still believes there is a viable path forward and urges stakeholders to actively engage in the regulatory process for balanced, predictable, and fair regulation.

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