Google Removing All Canadian News Sites From Searches After Law Requires Payments For Outlets

Topline

Google announced Wednesday it will remove links to Canadian news sites from its search results and other products for users in Canada, following a similar decision by Facebook’s parent company Meta last week, after the country passed a new law requiring internet companies to pay news publishers for their content.

Key Facts

Kent Walker, Google’s president of global affairs, said Wednesday the company is “disappointed” the Online News Act was approved, adding it is “the wrong approach to supporting journalism in Canada.”

Walker noted that links to Canadian news sites will be removed when the law comes into effect, which is expected to happen in December, according to Reuters.

Richard Gingras, Google’s vice president of news, signaled in testimony to a Canadian Senate committee last month that Google would remove links to news articles in Canada if the law was passed.

Meta announced last week it would block access to news articles for all Facebook and Instagram users in Canada, adding the company thought the law was “fundamentally flawed legislation.”

Neither Meta nor Google said whether it would allow news in the future, though Google indicated it would “continue to be transparent with Canadians and publishers as we move forward.”

Big Number

3.6 billion. That’s how many times Google linked to Canadian news publications last year, according to the company.

KeyBackground

The Online News Act requires internet platforms to bargain with news publishers for a licensing partnership independent of the Canadian government. The bill’s goal was to “enhance fairness in the Canadian digital news marketplace” and make news sites more financially sustainable, as the media industry faces turbulence due to declining print revenue and uncertain digital revenue, according to government summaries. It follows similar legislation passed in Australia in 2021, which required companies like Meta and Google to negotiate deals with news publications. After initially announcing it would block news links, Meta afterward reached an agreement with the Australian government to “restore news on Facebook for Australians.” Google—which also opposed the Australian law—later signed licensing agreements with some Australian publishers.

Chief Critic

Google executive Walker said the Canadian law “creates uncertainty for our products and exposes us to uncapped financial liability simply for facilitating Canadian’s access to news from Canadian publishers.”

Tangent

A similar bill was introduced in California—the California Journalism Preservation Act—and was approved by the state assembly earlier this month. Meta has indicated it would also block news articles on Facebook in California, should the bill become law.

Further Reading

Meta Will Block All News Stories On Facebook And Instagram In Canada After New Law Demands Payment to Publishers (Forbes)

Google To Pull Its News Service From Canada (Financial Times)

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