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Unholy Alliance: Google Joins Facebook In Blocking News Content In Canada

Following a similar decision by Facebook (now known as Meta), Google announced plans to block all news links in Canada following the passage of Bill C-18, the Online News Act, a corporate welfare package for the legacy media industry that would force tech companies to pay big media companies for linking to their content.

The bill is the Canadian equivalent of the derided Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) in the U.S., a bill which media lobbyists have gone to extraordinary lengths to pass, including a last-ditch effort to attach it to the annual defense spending bill last year.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Justin Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau (Photo by Alberto Pezzali – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Much like the JCPA, the goal of C-18 is to force tech companies to prop up the overwhelmingly left-leaning legacy media.

With the Liberal party led by the leftist authoritarian Justin Trudeau firmly in power in Canada, C-18 passed through Parliament and received Royal Assent last week.

In response, Facebook said it would have to block all news links for Canadian users.

“We have repeatedly shared that in order to comply with Bill C-18 … content from news outlets, including news publishers and broadcasters, will no longer be available to people accessing our platforms in Canada,” Zuckerberg’s company said in a statement.

Google has now followed suit, releasing a statement explaining its decision.

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Via Google:

The Government of Canada has enacted a new law called Bill C-18 (the Online News Act), requiring two companies to pay for simply showing links to news, something that everyone else does for free. The unprecedented decision to put a price on links (a so-called “link tax”) creates uncertainty for our products and exposes us to uncapped financial liability simply for facilitating Canadians’ access to news from Canadian publishers. We have been saying for over a year that this is the wrong approach to supporting journalism in Canada and may result in significant changes to our products.

We have now informed the Government that when the law takes effect, we unfortunately will have to remove links to Canadian news from our Search, News and Discover products in Canada, and that C-18 will also make it untenable for us to continue offering our Google News Showcase product in Canada.

We’re disappointed it has come to this. 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.

Google stressed that it was not opposed in principle to propping up the media industry (something the tech giant already does, by biasing its search results to favor legacy media and suppressing its competition), and noted its endorsement of the establishment of an independent fund for Canadian journalism.

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Both Google and Facebook already pay billions of dollars to “license” content from legacy media publishers, including media companies that are worth hundreds of millions to billions of dollars.

Just like the JCPA, C-18 allows media companies in Canada to enter into negotiations with tech companies to pay them for “carrying” their content, i.e., linking to the content and providing the media companies with traffic.

If no voluntary agreement is reached between the media and the tech company, an agreement can be forced on tech companies through arbitration, by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

Also similarly to the JCPA, the Canadian bill contains a massive loophole allowing for the exclusion of independent and conservative media.

From the text of the bill:

Eligible news businesses — designation
27 (1) At the request of a news business, the Commission must, by order, designate the business as eligible if it

(iv) is either a member of a recognized journalistic association and follows the code of ethics of a recognized journalistic association or has its own code of ethics whose standards of professional conduct require adherence to the recognized processes and principles of the journalism profession, including fairness, independence and rigour in reporting news and handling sources; or

In other words, if the CRTC determines that a news business does not adhered to “recognized processes and principles of the journalism profession,” or is not “fair,” “independent,” or “rigorous,” it can block a news outlet from receiving any of the benefits of C-18.

Source: Breitbart

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