Google blocks access to news websites in Canada due to the law requiring paid media

A law in Canada requires tech giants to enter into commercial arrangements with the media for news and information shared from their platforms (Ludovic Marin)

Google became the latest Silicon Valley giant on Thursday to block access from its platform to Canadian news websites, after Ottawa passed a bill that would force the digital tech giants to pay for such content.

The text, which was signed into law last week, seeks to shore up Canada’s struggling news producers sector, which has seen hundreds of publications shut down in the past decade.

The law requires the digital giants to settle news and information shared on their platforms with Canadian media and news sites, or face binding arbitration.

Google said in a statement that the new law was “not applicable” and the government gave no reason to believe that “structural issues related to the legislation” could be resolved during its implementation.

In a blog post, Google added that “it will be harder for Canadians to find news online” and “journalists will have to reach their audiences.”

However, users in the country will still be able to access news sites by typing their web address directly into a browser or through apps.

Google’s announcement follows failed last-minute negotiations with the government that sought to get the company involved.

Another tech giant, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced last Thursday that it would also block Canadian news websites on its platforms.

The two companies, dominant players in online advertising, have been accused of making profits from traditional media while using their content for free.

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“We are notifying the government that we have made the difficult decision…we will remove links to Canadian news from the Discover search engine, news and products, and the Google News Showcase will no longer operate in Canada,” the company said.

The rule in Canada is based on Australia’s new media trading law, the first in the world to have Google and Meta pay for news content on their platform.

AFP signed a five-year related rights agreement with Google at the end of 2021 to pay for content from the agency.


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