In Reaction to Bill C-18, Google Will Block Certain Canadians From Viewing News

In a trial run period for a potential reaction to the liberal government’s internet news law, Google is preventing some Canadian users from accessing news articles.

Under the Internet News Act, often known as Bill C-18, tech giants like Google and Meta (the company that owns Facebook) would have to negotiate with Canadian media outlets to pay them for reposting their materials on their platforms.

Response to the Bill

On Wednesday, the business announced while it muzzles fewer than 4% of Canadian users as it mulls over how to respond to the bill, it will restrict access to news information for all Canadian users.

The update affects the company’s omnipresent search engine and Android’s news and sports-focused Discover app.

The test, which will last for around five weeks, will touch all forms of news material, the business stated. It also covers material produced by Canadian newspapers and television networks.

In a written statement sent to the Canadian Press on Wednesday, Google spokesman Shay Purdy explained the company is temporarily evaluating potential product solutions to Bill C-18, which affects just a small fraction of Canadian users.

He also said to evaluate prospective adjustments to the company’s search engine, hundreds of tests were conducted annually.

Purdy said they’ve been forthright about our worries that C-18 is too sweeping and, if left intact, might affect things that Canadians rely on daily.

Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez’s spokesman termed Google’s use of Meta’s strategy unfortunate and said the country would not be intimidated. In reaction to the measure last year, the firm threatened to remove news articles from its site.

Similar Bill in Australia

This strategy failed in Australia and will fail in Canada, spokeswoman Laura Scaffidi said in a statement released on Wednesday. They want internet companies to pay journalists for their work when it is used.

The Canadian government passed the Online News Act to ensure all Canadians have access to reliable news coverage at both the national and regional levels. Canadians must see greater openness and responsibility from the tech industry’s major players.

The plan, similar to one enacted by Australia in 2021, is intended to “improve fairness” in the digital news business by providing a framework and negotiation procedure for internet giants to pay media outlets.

Nevertheless, Google voiced its opposition to the proposed regulation before a House of Commons committee, claiming it would favor giant publishers over smaller sites and lead to an increase in “cheap, low quality, clickbait material” at the expense of public interest journalism.

The corporation has shown a preference for contributing to a fund that would compensate news publishers through channels other than direct payments, such as the Canada Media Fund.

In December, the measure was approved by the House of Commons and will now be considered by the Senate.

This article appeared in NewsHouse and has been published here with permission.