The World Forum - July 19th, 2024

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Google blocking news content for some Canadians in response to government bill


A spokesman for Google says the tech company is blocking some Canadian users from viewing news content in response to the Liberal government's online news bill.

The proposed Online News Act, also known as Bill C-18, 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 says it is limiting access to news content online to under four per cent of its Canadian users of its products, including its popular search engine and the Discover feature on Android devices that carries news and sports stories.

The company says all types of news content are being affected by the test, which will run for about five weeks, including content created by Canadian broadcasters and newspapers.

A spokeswoman for Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says Canadians will not be intimidated and called it disappointing that Google is borrowing from Meta's playbook.

That company threatened to block news off its site last year in response to the bill.