Alphabet said it will remove links to news from Canadian publishers from its website. Google search engine after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government passed legislation requiring digital platforms to pay local news outlets.
The Online News Act “creates uncertainty for our products and exposes us to unlimited financial liability simply because it allows Canadians access to news from publishers.” Canada,” Kent Walker, president of global affairs for Mountain View, a California-based company, said in a statement. declare.
Walker said the links will be removed when the law goes into effect.
Next move Meta . Platform Notice of Inc. last week that it will end of availability Facebook and Instagram news for all users in Canada. Both Alphabet and Meta have been experimenting with blocking news on their platforms in recent months.
Tech giants have argued the law would unfairly force them to pay for unprofitable content, but the government says the bill will bring much-needed revenue to the industry. The Canadian media sector saw 450 store closures between 2008 and 2021.
This isn’t the first time Alphabet has taken news from its platform. In 2014, the company shut down Google News in Spain after that country passed a law requiring news aggregators to pay publishers. After nearly eight years of hiatus, the service become available again last year after an updated copyright law allowed the media to negotiate with digital platforms.
In addition to blocking news in Canada, Alphabet said it will also terminate negotiated agreements on 150 news publications in the country.
By 2022, Google was linking to Canadian news publications more than 3.6 billion times, with 250 million Canadian dollars ($189 million) worth of referral traffic annually, according to the company. .
“We hope that the government will be able to chart a viable path forward,” Walker said. Otherwise, the law could “make it harder for Canadians to find news online, make it harder for journalists to reach audiences, and reduce valuable free web traffic for Canadian publishers.”
Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said in a statement that big tech companies would rather spend money to change their platforms to block Canadians from accessing local news than pay organizations that produce news. ie that.
“This shows how deeply irresponsible and out of touch they are, especially when they make billions of dollars from Canadian users. Canada needs a strong, free and independent press that is the foundation of our democracy.”
News Media Canada, which represents about 500 outlets in the country from major newspapers to small independent players, scorned Alphabet’s move.
“Instead of demonstrating their extraordinary market power by withholding access to accurate, timely news for Canadians, this is the time for all stakeholders to act in good faith, as a responsible corporate citizen and actively participate in the regulatory process to ensure that regulation is balanced, predictable and fair,” said Paul Deegan, executive director of the group, indicated by email.