The feud between tech behemoths Google and Facebook and news publishers is heating up, with Google following Facebook’s lead and threatening to cut off access to Canadian news unless lawmakers agree to repeal legislation requiring tech companies to pay publishers for their content.
In response to a new law requiring tech companies to pay news publishers for displaying their content, Google in Canada has begun blocking some news content from specific sources. Because of the law, Google has removed articles from its search results and even news outlets from its news aggregator. While Google claims to be following the law, critics claim that the company is abusing its market power to dictate the terms of the agreement.
The bill, which was introduced last spring, would require internet companies such as Google and Facebook to compensate news publishers for using their content. The tests will have an impact on Android web search and the Discover feature. A Google representative confirmed the testing. Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called Google’s decision to block news content a “terrible mistake” in response to a government bill that would require the tech giant to pay Canadian publishers for news content.
“We’re briefly testing potential product responses to Bill C-18 that impact a very small percentage of Canadian users,” a Google spokesperson said. “We run thousands of tests each year to assess any potential changes to Search.”
This conflict is not limited to Canada; Australia is also considering legislation that would require tech companies to pay for news content. Google has threatened to shut down its search engine in Australia entirely in response. Facebook has also threatened to remove news content from its Australian platform, claiming that it benefits news publishers by driving traffic to their websites. Australian news publishers have backed the proposed legislation, claiming that tech companies have profited from their content without proper compensation.
The sources for this piece include an article in Gizmodo.