In a move that further challenges the Canadian government’s efforts to make Big Tech pay for news content, Google has announced its decision to remove links to news organizations in Canada from its Search, News, and Discover products. The decision comes after the passage of the Online News Act, also known as Bill C-18, which Google argues is “unworkable” and poses significant financial liability.
According to Kent Walker, Google’s President of Global Affairs, the Canadian government has not provided sufficient assurance that the regulatory process will address the structural issues with the legislation. The Online News Act mandates that companies pay for displaying links to news, a practice that Google believes should be free for everyone.
In response, Google has informed the Canadian government that it will eliminate links to Canadian news content from its platforms once the law takes effect. Additionally, Google will discontinue its Google News Showcase product in Canada. Walker expressed disappointment over the situation and emphasized the company’s commitment to transparency with Canadian publishers and users.
The Online News Act received royal assent on June 22 and is expected to be enforced within six months. The decision by Google to remove news links is likely to have a significant impact on the Canadian news industry and raises questions about the sustainability and future of news organizations in the country.
It remains to be seen how this development will shape the relationship between Big Tech and news publishers in Canada and whether alternative solutions will be sought to address the financial challenges faced by the news industry in the digital age.