Google faces trouble in Canada, will block local news links over new online news act

Search engine giant Google on Wednesday confirmed that it will block Canadian news under a new law which aims at the tech giants across the globe to pay the respective Canadian media for news according to a recent blog post from Kent Walker, President of Global Affairs, Google & Alphabet. 

Google News

The blog from Google reveals that the Canadian Government has enacted a new law called the C-18 (Online News Act), which requires the tech giants operating in the area to pay for the news links that Google shows on its website in Canada. This comes at a time when services all around the world are done free of cost.

“The unprecedented decision to put a price on links (a so-called “link tax”) creates uncertainty for our products and exposes us to uncapped financial liability simply for facilitating Canadians’ access to news from Canadian publishers,” says Kent Walker President of Global Affairs, Google & Alphabet in his blog post.

“We have been saying for over a year that this is the wrong approach to supporting journalism in Canada and may result in significant changes to our products,” Walker adds.

The company has informed the government that once the law comes into effect, it will have to remove the links to the news from the Google search, News and Discover products in Canada.

According to media reports, tech companies like Google and Meta in the past have had conversations with the Canadian Government on the legislation and how it will affect the operations in the country, but the government didn’t agree and said that it would be unfair for the news outlets operating in the country. This move according to the government aims to enhance fairness in the digital news market.

Google has claimed in its blog that it has been supporting Canadian journalism through its programs and partnerships. It had in the past negotiated with over 150 news publications across Canada thereby helping publishers make money through ads and subscriptions. The approximate traffic from links is valued at $250 million (Canadian Dollars) annually. Google reiterates that it is ready to do more but cannot do it the way where it would create a hindrance to the operations of how search engines work.

At present, Google believes that the government will be able to outline a viable path forward. The bill will make it harder for Canadians to find news online, make it harder for journalists to reach their audiences, and reduce valuable free web traffic to Canadian publishers according to Google.