Google to remove local news links in Canada due to Online News Act

Berita, Bisnis176 Dilihat

In response to a new law that seeks to require tech giants to compensate Canadian media for news, Google announces plans to block Canadian news in the country.

Last week, Canada’s parliament approved the Online News Act, which mandates platforms such as Google and Meta’s Facebook to engage in negotiations with news providers.

Following Meta’s announcement to limit news content for its Canadian users, Google’s decision follows suit.

After Meta temporarily blocked users in Australia from sharing or viewing news on its platforms, the Australian lawmakers amended a previously passed legislation. This legislation was implemented two years ago but underwent modifications in response to the incident.

Following the amendments, the blackout came to an end, leading to subsequent negotiations between Google, Meta, and over 30 Australian media companies.

In its current form, Google had criticized the Canadian law as “unworkable” and put forward proposed amendments. Both Google and Meta have engaged in discussions with the government regarding the legislation.

However, in response, the Canadian government has emphasized that the legislation will play a crucial role in ensuring fair compensation for news outlets facing difficulties. They argue that it is necessary to promote fairness in the digital news market in Canada.

During an interview with CTV News on Thursday afternoon, Pablo Rodriguez, the minister responsible for the matter, expressed his surprise at Google’s decision. He mentioned that they had been engaged in discussions as recently as that morning.

According to the independent budget watchdog of the Canadian parliament, news organizations could potentially receive up to C$329 million ($248 million; £196 million) annually from digital platforms.

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However, the media associations and outlets that initially supported the bill now find themselves potentially facing a threat to their businesses. This is because Google, which drives a substantial portion of web traffic to Canadian news outlets, has taken action that could impact their online presence and reach.

During a parliamentary session last month, Phillip Crawley, the publisher of the Globe and Mail, revealed that Google constitutes 30% of their website’s traffic. Similarly, Le Devoir, a prominent French-language publication, relies on Google for 40% of its traffic, while nearly 30% is generated from social media platforms.

Google has not provided specific details regarding the duration of the ban on local news links or whether Canadian users will be presented with links to stories about Canada from publishers located outside the country.

Google expressed in a blog post that they have informed the government about their regretful decision to remove links to Canadian news from their Search, News, and Discover products within Canada once the law comes into effect.

“We recognize the significance of this decision and its consequences, and we understand the importance of providing early transparency to Canadian publishers and our users,” Google expressed in its statement.

Google Canada’s policy team, in a statement to the BBC, mentioned that the government had not provided them with sufficient confidence that the regulatory process would effectively address the fundamental structural concerns embedded within the legislation.

However, in their post on Thursday, the company affirmed their intention to actively engage in the regulatory process and emphasized their commitment to maintaining transparency with Canadians and publishers throughout the ongoing proceedings.

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News Media Canada, an organization representing numerous news organizations nationwide that had advocated for the law, maintains its belief in finding a viable solution.

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