Google has agreed to pay approximately $74 million to Canadian news publishers for using their content, marking a significant shift in the tech giant’s approach to content compensation after a standoff resulted in the internet giant almost cutting off news in the country.
Engadget reports that a recent agreement between Google and the Canadian government signifies a pivotal change in the ongoing debate over the rights of news publishers in the digital age. This agreement comes in response to Canada’s impending Online News Act, designed to address the crisis in the news business where advertising profits are increasingly absorbed by tech behemoths like Google and Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta. The leadup to the big news bailout bill becoming law included Facebook cutting off news links in the country and Google threatening the same.
Canada’s law, targeting platforms with over 20 million unique monthly users and annual revenues exceeding $1 billion CAD, compels tech companies to financially compensate news publishers for their content. Initially, Google had resisted these changes, with Google’s President of Global Affairs, Kent Walker, expressing strong opposition to the proposed law. However, in a recent turn of events, Google has agreed to pay an estimated $100 million CAD (about $74 million USD), significantly lower than the $127 million CAD initially estimated by the Canadian government.
This decision by Google is a departure from its previous stance, where it had threatened to block news content in Canada altogether. The agreement could set a global precedent, with similar laws being considered in other countries. It reflects a growing recognition of the value and importance of journalistic content in the digital ecosystem.
Meta, on the other hand, has not yet resumed talks with the Canadian government regarding this issue. In 2021, when Australia passed a law similar to the one Facebook was protesting, Meta removed news from Facebook and Instagram for Australian users. According to whistleblowers, the company went even further by blocking links to Australian hospital and fire services as a retaliatory measure. Meta claimed it was an accident, but employees stated that it was a deliberate attempt to create chaos and intimidate the government into weakening the regulation.
Read more at Engadget here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.