Tech & Science

Bill C-18 explained: How to know if Google is blocking your news

Google has temporarily blocked news content for some Canadian users.

The company says the move is a response to the Liberal government’s proposed Online News Act (Bill C-18), which would require the internet giant to compensate Canadian media companies for republishing their work. Thing.

What is Building C-18?

Bill C-18, first filed in June 2022, essentially contracts companies such as Meta, which owns Google and Facebook, to pay Canadian media companies for content they republish on their platforms. It forced me to negotiate.

“The bill aims to help news businesses secure fair compensation when their news content is made available by dominant digital news intermediaries and generates economic returns. , introduces a new negotiating framework.” a statement from the government Say. “We aim to support a balanced negotiation between the companies that operate the dominant digital news intermediaries and those responsible for the media outlets that produce this news content.”

The bill passed the House in December and will be considered in the Senate soon. The current version says he could be fined as much as $10 million for the first offense if he does.

A spokeswoman for Canada’s Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez told, “Canadians need access to quality, factual news at the local and national level, which has introduced the Online News Act. That’s the reason,” he said. “Technology giants need to be more transparent and accountable to Canadians.”

Why is Google blocking news content?

According to Google, the company is testing ways to comply with the new rules proposed in Bill C-18.

A Google spokesperson told, “We are briefly testing potential product responses to Bill C-18, which affects a small percentage of Canadian users.”

The test impacts Google’s ubiquitous search engine and news feeds on Android devices. According to Google, such tests don’t always result in permanent changes.

“We have been completely transparent about our concerns that C-18 is overly pervasive and, if left unaltered, could impact products that Canadians use and rely on on a daily basis. I did,” the spokesperson added. “We remain committed to supporting a sustainable future for Canadian news and providing solutions to fix Bill C-18.”

The company voiced its opposition to the proposed legislation in October. Attendance at the Canadian Heritage Standing Committee, was considering the bill. Instead of negotiating with Canadian media companies, Google offered to donate to an indirect paying fund. The company also expressed concern that the proposed law would favor large outlets over smaller outlets and would not require media companies to adhere to basic journalism standards.

Sabrina Jeremiah, vice president and country managing director of Google Canada, said: “We do not believe these measures are in the interests of the Canadian public and are a reflection of the unique challenges faced by Canadian news publishers. It’s not an effective response,” he said. Blog post for November 2022“As currently written, this law will not strengthen or sustain Canada’s news ecosystem and will make it more difficult for Canadians to find and share trusted news online.

How will I know if this affects me?

According to Google, less than 4% of Canadian users were affected by the test, a non-significant figure considering Google’s search engine enjoys around 90% market share in the country.

To find out if you’re one of them, open up the Google search engine, enter a Canadian-themed word like “Trudeau” or “Ottawa” and search for[ニュース]Click a tab. If you’ve seen articles from Canadian media outlets such as CTV News, your account may not have been affected. If you mostly look at news sources from the US or other countries, you’re probably in the 4%.

How do Canadians react?

Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has previously issued similar warnings. Blocking news content in CanadaWhen relevant legislation comes into force in Australia in 2021, Facebook temporarily shut down news feed in the country.

A spokesperson for Canada’s heritage minister said: “We are disappointed to hear that Google appears to be borrowing Facebook’s strategy. “This has not worked in Australia and will not work here because Because Canadians aren’t intimidated.After all, all we want from the tech giants is to compensate journalists when they use their work.”

Tech analyst Carmi Levy called Google’s behavior “outrageous.”

“This new law, Bill C-18, the Online News Act, threatens Google’s core business, so Google is playing the bully and trying to push Ottawa back,” Levy told CTV News. Told. “That will reduce revenue. Ultimately you have to pay media platforms for content, and you have to acquire that content on your own platform, distribute it, and monetize it through advertising. , the free ride is over, Google ‘not happy and this is why they are doing it. ”

Andrew Sullivan is internet societyis a global non-profit organization that advocates for an open and globally connected Internet. in February 2023 Impact assessment formSullivan and Group argued that bill C-18 would ultimately harm the Internet and limit the growth of the digital economy. It’s one of the surest ways,” he said.

Sullivan told, “Responsible network operators are constantly testing features like this to make sure they work as expected.” It’s a shame to force Canada to choose between full access to the entire Internet and finding ways to support some Canadian news businesses. It will be no one’s business.”

Using Canadian Press files

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