Google wants to block access to news in reaction to Bill C-18

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Google wants to block access to news in response to Bill C-18

Google's new offices in Montreal

A Google spokesperson has confirmed that the US tech company is blocking some Canadian users from viewing news content in response to the Liberal government's online news bill.

The online news bill, also known as Bill C-18, would force digital giants such as Google and Facebook-owner Meta, to negotiate agreements that would compensate Canadian media for the republication of their content on their platforms.

The company says it limits access to online news content to less than 4% of its Canadian users of its products, including its popular search engine and Discover feature on Android devices that broadcast news and sports reports.

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

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

The Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pablo Rodriguez

The latter had threatened to block news from its site last year in response to the Bill.

We briefly test potential product responses to Bill C- 18 that impact a very small percentage of Canadian users, Google spokesperson Shay Purdy said in a written statement on Wednesday.

The company conducts thousands of tests each year to assess any potential changes to its search engine, he added.

We have been completely transparent about our concern that C-18 is too broad and, if left unmodified, could impact the products that Canadians use and rely on every day, said Purdy.

We remain committed to supporting a sustainable future for news in Canada and to delivering solutions that fix Bill C-18, he added.

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