Tech giants Google and Meta are facing criticism from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over their opposition to a proposed bill that would require them to pay news publishers for content. The Online News Act aims to ensure that internet companies like Google and Facebook negotiate commercial deals with news outlets and compensate publishers for their content. However, the two US-based tech giants argue that the proposals in the bill are unsustainable for their businesses.
Trudeau has accused both companies of using “scary tactics” against the push for financial support for news publishers. He stated that these firms would rather cut off Canadians’ access to local news than pay their fair share, which is a real problem. Furthermore, he added that they are resorting to scare tactics to try and get their way, but it will not work.
The legislation passed Canada’s House of Commons in December 2022 and is currently in the upper house of parliament. Canada’s media industry wants tighter regulation of technology companies to prevent them from elbowing news companies out of the online advertising market.
Google has proposed amendments “to align with international standards” and address the company’s concerns about the bill. However, it maintains that the rules in Canada’s bill are stricter than those enacted in Australia and Europe. Shay Purdy, a Google spokesperson, said that while they have come up with reasonable solutions to make the bill work as intended and increase investments in Canada’s news ecosystem, there are still some serious problems that make it unfeasible for their products and services.
Meta recently called the bill fundamentally flawed since it claims that news has no economic value for its platforms. In contrast, Trudeau argues that various internet giants like Meta post record profits every year while local independent news struggles across Canada. The prime minister believes these incredibly profitable corporations should help strengthen democracy by supporting local journalism.
All in all, while tech giants argue against paying publishers for content under proposed legislation aimed at securing financial support for news publishers in Canada, the country’s media industry is pushing for tighter regulation to prevent these companies from dominating online advertising markets. The debate continues as the bill makes its way through parliament.
It is announced that, Google and Facebook have conducted tests this year to limit some users’ access to news content in Canada if the legislation becomes law in its current form. Such actions are not welcomed by Canadian authorities and may lead to further scrutiny of tech giants’ business practices in the country.