Google to block news in Canada on Search and other services over new law

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What you need to know

  • Canada's new Bill C-18 mandates that companies like Google and Meta negotiate with publishers to link to and preview their content on their respective platforms.
  • In response to the bill, Google has announced that it will remove Canadian news links from its products in the region.
  • Meta has also announced a similar move, removing news content from both Facebook and Instagram.

Google announced on Thursday that it will remove links to Canadian news content from Search in the region. The move follows the enactment of Bill C-18, also known as the Online News Act, which forces companies to pay publishers for the use of their content.

Kent Walker, Google's president of Global Affairs, explained in a post on Thursday that links to Canadian news will be removed from Search, News, and the Discover feed in Canada and that it will no longer operat1 Google News Showcase in the country.

"We're disappointed it has come to this," Walker says in the post. "We don't take this decision or its impacts lightly and believe it's important to be transparent with Canadian publishers and our users as early as possible."

Bill C-18 aims to help news publishers in Canada counteract loss in revenue by making companies such as Google and Meta pay to link to and preview their work on the respective platforms. However, the bill has been heavily criticized by the companies, who say that it is flawed and "unworkable," ignoring the reality of how these platforms work and the ways in which they benefit publishers.

Walker explains that Google already works with publishers in Canada to support their content, particularly on the Google News Showcase.

"Last year alone, we linked to Canadian news publications more than 3.6 billion times — at no charge — helping publishers make money through ads and new subscriptions. This referral traffic from links has been valued at $250 million CAD annually."

Walker says that the new bill would create "untenable product and financial uncertainty" and make it harder for Canadians to find news. He also explains that Google has already outlined its concerns with the government and has tried to offer solutions that would make the bill more "workable" for all parties involved, similar to what it has done in other countries like Australia.

Google reiterated this point in a statement provided to Android Central:

"We're doing everything we can to avoid an outcome that no-one wants. Every step of the way, we've proposed thoughtful and pragmatic solutions that would have improved the Bill and cleared the path for us to increase our already significant investments in the Canadian news ecosystem. So far, none of our concerns have been addressed. Bill C-18 is about to become law and remains unworkable. We are continuing to urgently seek to work with the government on a path forward."

Google is not the only one set to remove news links from its platform. Meta announced this month that it would comply with the new bill by removing news links from Facebook and Instagram.

"News outlets will continue to have access to their accounts and Pages, and will be able to post news links and content; however, some content will not be viewable in Canada," Meta said in a statement.

Derrek Lee
Managing Editor

Derrek is the managing editor of Android Central, helping to guide the site's editorial content and direction to reach and resonate with readers, old and new, who are just as passionate about tech as we are. He's been obsessed with mobile technology since he was 12, when he discovered the Nokia N90, and his love of flip phones and new form factors continues to this day. As a fitness enthusiast, he has always been curious about the intersection of tech and fitness. When he's not working, he's probably working out.