Google Blocking News Content From Some Canadian Users

    Google Blocking News Content From Some Canadian Users
    Last updated Feb 23, 2023
    Image credit: nbc


    • On Wednesday, Google said it's blocking approximately 4% of its Canadian users from viewing news content as a test of their response to the legislation "Bill C-18," also known as the Online News Act.
    • The bill was introduced by Prime Minister Trudeau’s Liberal government in April, and requires Google — and other platforms, including Facebook — to negotiate with news publishers to pay for their content.
    • During the test, some Canadians will be limited in how much domestic and international news they'll be able to view.
    • Google is looking for amendments to the bill, which is under consideration by the Senate. The company also said the test, which will run for about five weeks, is one of “thousands” of tests it runs each year.
    • Australia and the Big Tech firms faced off over similar legislation, which took effect in March 2021. After a brief shutdown of Facebook news content in that country, the companies made deals with the publishers, and the bill proved to work as intended, according to a government report.
    • The Canadian legislation could generate $242M a year for media outlets, Canada’s parliamentary budget watchdog has estimated.


    Narrative A

    It’s disappointing that Google doesn't appear to care about the harm it causes to Canadian media outlets, and is now stooping to bullying tactics that are disrespectful to Canadian users. Instead of running on greed, Google, and all the Big Tech firms, should be open to solutions that will sustainably support a free press and democracy.

    Narrative B

    This test isn’t an attempt to bully the Canadian government or users, but hopefully, it will catch legislators’ attention. Bill C-18 is overbearing and the Canadian Parliament should consider amending how it defines which news outlets fall into the group that gets to negotiate with social media platforms. Certainly, Big Tech companies can’t be expected to establish deals with tiny outlets that don’t adhere to journalistic standards.

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