(LifeSiteNews) — Big Tech giant Google has declared Canadians will be blocked from accessing news in accordance with the Online News Act passed by the Trudeau government.
On June 29, Google joined Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, in promising to block news content for Canadian users as the newly passed Online News Act forces tech companies to pay publishers for content.
“We have now informed the government that when the law takes effect, we unfortunately will have to remove links to Canadian news from our Search, News and Discover products in Canada,” Google executive Kent Walker wrote in a blog post.
The act, condemned by both Meta and Google, is presented as an attempt to keep journalism alive in Canada by providing outlets with “fair compensation” if their content is published on social media platforms.
However, Bill C-18 gives the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) the power to determine which news content Canadians are permitted to view.
According to the bill, to be considered “eligible” for sharing, a news outlet must be “a qualified Canadian journalism organization” and produce “news content of public interest that is primarily focused on matters of general interest and reports of current events.”
It is up to the Canadian government to decide which news outlets are to be considered “eligible.”
Prominent politicians and Canadians alike have condemned the act as a form of government censorship which could end free speech in Canada.
Alberta MP Rachael Thomas warned the proposed bill would prevent the government from being held accountable to Canadians.
While the act was initially feared to allow the Canadian government to censor what Canadians view online, it may backfire on the federal government if large tech companies refuse to pay to publish Canadian content.
Upon the bill’s approval, Meta, the parent company of social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, announced it would begin to censor content for Canadians in anticipation of the bill taking effect.
“We have repeatedly shared that in order to comply with Bill C-18, passed today in Parliament, content from news outlets, including news publishers and broadcasters, will no longer be available to people accessing our platforms in Canada,” Meta stated.
Prior to the bill being passed, Facebook ran a test which blocked news content for about 5 percent of Canadians.