Google will be removing links to Canadian news in Search, News, and Discover following the recent passage of the Online News Act in Canada, according to a blog post by Kent Walker, Google’s president of global affairs. The law, also called Bill C-18, forces big tech companies like Google and Meta to pay news publishers for their content.
“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,” Walker wrote. “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.”
Google had been preparing for this possibility; it tested blocking news in February. The company will remove the links once the law takes effect, Walker said, which is expected to happen in six months, according to CBC. Google is also going to stop offering its Google News Showcase product, which highlights local news, in the country.
The company’s announcement follows Meta’s decision last week that it would be yanking news from Facebook and Instagram in Canada as a result of the bill. In 2021, Google threatened to remove news from Australia because of a similar law, but the company ended up cutting deals with publishers.