The American Internet company Google has agreed with authorities in Canada on new rules in a dispute over the use of news content by media companies. As a result of the agreement, Google will contribute 100 million Canadian dollars (1.6 billion CZK) to these companies annually. The Canadian government announced this on Wednesday. The new law requires tech companies to pay publishers for content used.
The American company has previously threatened to block the ability to search for Canadian news on Google in Canada. By reaching an agreement, that risk disappeared. Competing company Meta Platforms, which is the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and others, has already started blocking Canadian news this year.
Google wants to support journalism
“Google has agreed to properly support journalists, including local journalism,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. “Unfortunately, Meta continues to completely abdicate any responsibility to democratic institutions,” the AP quoted him as saying.
The Canadian government’s Pascale St-Onge said the C$100 million will be indexed so it will take inflation into account. The government wants to use the money to provide financial support to a wide range of news companies across the country.
“It’s good for the intelligence sector. If a better deal is made elsewhere in the world, Canada reserves the right to start looking at that arrangement again,” St-Onge said at a news conference. “This legislation appears to be working. That it’s fair. And now it’s up to Facebook to explain why it’s leaving its platform open to misinformation and inaccurate information instead of maintaining our news system,” she said.
In late June, Canada passed an online news law that requires big tech companies to pay publishers to link to or otherwise use their content online. Meta responded to the law by blocking news content in Canada on its platforms. Google’s owner, Alphabet, has previously said it plans to do the same when the law takes effect in December.
Message sharing ban
Meta said the Online News Act is based on the incorrect assumption that Meta is unfairly benefiting from the news content shared on its platforms. In fact, according to the company’s claims, it’s the other way around – that is, news companies benefit from increased Internet traffic towards them. Meta’s stance means that people in Canada cannot view or share news on Facebook and Instagram — including news articles, videos and audio as published by media companies inside and outside of Canada. Links published by Canadian media continue to be visible in other countries. St-Onge called Meta’s attitude irresponsible.
“With some newsrooms cutting jobs or closing altogether, the health of Canada’s news industry has never been more at risk,” said St-Onge.
Kent Walker, president of global affairs at Google and Alphabet, thanked the minister in a statement and said Google will continue to provide Canadian publishers with the internet traffic they value so much. In response to Meta’s stance, the Canadian government announced earlier this year that it would stop advertising on the Facebook and Instagram platforms.
Meta has already taken similar steps in the past. In 2021, it briefly blocked news from its platform in Australia when the country passed legislation that forced tech companies to pay publishers to use their news. Later, Meta reached an agreement with Australian publishers. Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau said the deal will have a global impact as other countries face the same challenges facing the Canadian media scene.