Google, Meta threaten to limit services in Canada over news bill

Canada Global (Web News) According to company officials speaking to Canadian MPs, Google and Meta will stop providing access to news items if legislation requiring internet companies to pay news publishers is approved.

As part of a larger worldwide trend to have internet companies pay for journalism, Canada’s proposed legislation would require platforms, like Facebook’s parent Meta Platforms and Google’s parent Alphabet, to strike business arrangements and pay Canadian news publishers for their material.

Richard Gingras, Google’s vice president of news, testified before a Senate committee on Wednesday that if the bill is passed, Google may be required to remove links to news articles found in Canadian search results. Gingras cited a “uncapped financial liability” if Google were required to compensate publishers for links to their websites.

If the bill is approved as written, Meta would also stop offering news content in Canada, according to Rachel Curran, the organization’s director of public policy in that country.

Ottawa’s proposal is comparable to a trailblazing measure that Australia approved in 2021, which also sparked threats to limit service from Google and Facebook. After the law was changed, both eventually reached agreements with Australian media companies.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau referred to Google’s testing of limiting some Canadian customers’ access to news as a “terrible mistake” this year as a possible response to the legislation.

According to Gingras, Google linked to Canadian news publishers more than 3.6 billion times last year, assisting these businesses in generating revenue from advertisements and new subscriptions.

According to Curran, Facebook feeds provided Canadian publishers with more than 1.9 billion clicks in the year that ended in April 2022, amounting to free advertising worth an estimated $230 million.

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