AP

Google tests blocking news content for some Canadians

Feb 22, 2023, 5:26 PM | Updated: 5:36 pm

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Google is blocking some Canadian users from viewing news content in what the company said Wednesday is a test run of a potential response to a Canadian government’s online news bill.

Bill C-18, the Online News Act, would require digital giants such as Google and Meta, which owns Facebook, to negotiate deals that would compensate Canadian media companies for republishing their content on their platforms.

The company said it is temporarily limiting access to news content for under 4% of its Canadian users as it assesses possible responses to the bill. The change applies to its ubiquitous search engine as well as the Discover feature on Android devices, which carries news and sports stories.

All types of news content are being affected by the test, which will run for about five weeks, the company said. That includes content created by Canadian broadcasters and newspapers.

“We’re briefly testing potential product responses to Bill C-18 that impact a very small percentage of Canadian users,” Google spokesman Shay Purdy said in a written statement on Wednesday in response to questions from The Canadian Press.

The company runs thousands of tests each year to assess any potential changes to its search engine, he added.

“We’ve been fully transparent about our concern that C-18 is overly broad and, if unchanged, could impact products Canadians use and rely on every day,” Purdy said.

A spokeswoman for Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said Canadians will not be intimidated and called it disappointing that Google is borrowing from Meta’s playbook. Last year, that company threatened to block news off its site in response to the bill.

“This didn’t work in Australia, and it won’t work here because Canadians won’t be intimidated. At the end of the day, all we’re asking the tech giants to do is compensate journalists when they use their work,” spokeswoman Laura Scaffidi said in a statement Wednesday.

“Canadians need to have access to quality, fact-based news at the local and national levels, and that’s why we introduced the Online News Act. Tech giants need to be more transparent and accountable to Canadians.”

Rodriguez has argued the bill, which is similar to a law that Australia passed in 2021, will “enhance fairness” in the digital news marketplace by creating a framework and bargaining process for online behemoths to pay media outlets.

But Google expressed concerns in a Parliament committee that the prospective law does not require publishers to adhere to basic journalistic standards, that it would favour large publishers over smaller outlets and that it could result in the proliferation of “cheap, low quality, clickbait content” over public interest journalism.

The company has said it would rather pay into a fund, similar to the Canada Media Fund, that would pay news publishers indirectly.

The bill passed the Canadian House of Commons in December and is set to be studied in the Senate in the coming months.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

President Joe Biden gestures after speaking to graduating students at the Morehouse College commenc...

Associated Press

Biden tells Morehouse graduates that scenes in Gaza from the Israel-Hamas war break his heart, too

Joe Biden on Sunday offered his most direct recognition of U.S. students' anguish over the Israel-Hamas war.

7 hours ago

Rudy Giuliani...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani is the final defendant to serve indictment in Arizona fake elector case

Rudy Giuliani has been served an indictment in Arizona's fake elector case for his role in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

1 day ago

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday...

Associated Press

Some in Houston facing no power for weeks after storms cause widespread damage, killing at least 4

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday, May 17. Thunderstorms hit the southeastern part of Texas, killing at least four people.

2 days ago

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer...

Associated Press

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer

A man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for attacking the husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a hammer.

2 days ago

audio from President Joe Biden’s interview about classified documents blocked...

Associated Press

GOP advances Garland contempt charges after White House exerts executive privilege over Biden audio

The move to release audio from President Joe Biden’s interview about classified documents was blocked on Thursday by the White House.

3 days ago

Asylum processing for new migrants: Changes could come soon...

Associated Press

The Biden administration is planning more changes to quicken asylum processing for new migrants

The Biden administration is planning to quicken the asylum processing for new migrants as an interim step rather than an executive order.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Google tests blocking news content for some Canadians