A PYMNTS Company

Google To Remove Canadian News Content From Search Engine

 |  June 29, 2023

In a move that has rattled the already tumultuous news landscape in Canada, Google announced it will remove Canadian news content from its search engine in response to the recently passed Online News Act.

 The Act would require platforms such as Google and Meta to negotiate deals with Canadian news media publishers for sharing, previewing, and directing users to online news content, or face financial penalties for failing to comply.

Google Canada reported 3.6 billion links to Canadian news publishers in 2022, resulting in an estimated 250 million dollars in value. The Online News Act, therefore, seeks to mandate payments for the increasing value of such links, forcing platforms to enter into direct negotiations with publishers.

Related: Google, Meta Threaten To Withdraw News Over Canada’s Online News Bill

Kent Walker, Senior Vice-president of Global Affairs at Google, claimed in a blog post that the Canadian law, which is to be enacted in about six months, is ‘unworkable’ in its current form and proposed amendments. Facebook has also requested changes in the bill, with Rachel Curran, a former adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, commenting that they will proceed towards ending the availability of news permanently in Canada, reported Reuters. 

Despite their outspoken criticism of the Act, Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez has spoken in favor of it, arguing it is necessary ‘to enhance fairness in the Canadian digital news market.’ Rodriguez sees the potential of nearly 330 million dollars in annual payments for news media publishers, but some outlets and associations which have championed the bill may now find their businesses negatively affected as Google’s restrictions take hold.

Google’s blog post notes that they have informed the Canadian government of the impending measures and have expressed that they take the decision and its impact on Canadian publishers and users very seriously. Unspecified as to duration, the ban bans of local news links will leave Canadian users without news from local sources.

Ultimately, the move to block Canadian news highlights a long-standing dilemma: how to fairly compensate media publishers, but also how much power the tech giants should wield in our online experience. There are two clear sides: media publishing platforms demanding more than a share of profits and tech corporations arguing the need to remain agile in the ever-evolving digital landscape. Google’s action and Meta’s shared block in Australia serves as a point of reference as to how these negotiations could result in countries around the world.