Tag: withholds

Online News Act: Google withholds AI chatbot as Meta runs ads opposing new law

OTTAWA – Tech companies are continuing to push back on the Liberal government over its Online News Act, with Google withholding its new artificial-intelligence chatbot from Canada and Meta running ads opposing the law.

A Google spokesman said the company is working through regulatory uncertainty in Canada related to Bard, an AI-driven online conversational tool seen as a competitor to the popular ChatGPT from OpenAI.

Bard currently links to news, which will be subject to regulations in Canada now that the Online News Act, formerly known as Bill C-18, has become law.

In order to comply with the law, both Google and Meta have stated they would remove news links in Canada before the law comes into effect by the end of the year.

The law will force global tech players to enter into agreements with Canadian news outlets to compensate them for content shared or otherwise repurposed on their platforms.

Last week Google expanded Bard to the European Union after resolving regulatory concerns there.

The chatbot is available in more than 200 countries, but Canada is excluded alongside countries such as Russia, North Korea, China, Belarus, Afghanistan and Syria.

“As we continue to build Bard responsibly, we’re expanding access to more countries and regions in multiple languages,” said Google Canada spokesperson Shay Purdy in a statement.

“We’re committed to being good partners as we work through regulatory uncertainty in Canada, and we’re enthusiastic about bringing Bard’s generative AI potential to Canadians soon.”

Meanwhile, Meta has begun an ad campaign on its Facebook and Instagram platforms, criticizing the law and explaining its decision to remove news links.

Meta said it launched the campaign on Friday to keep Canadians informed about changes to its services.

The ads will also run on radio and digital, in both English and French, over the