Canadians to use a VPN and set their location to the US or another country. This should allow links from Canadian publishers to appear in search and on Facebook.
Right now, Google and Facebook’s restrictions will only affect Canadians later this year when the law goes into effect. This means that Americans wanting to read up about news in Canada should still find news results from Canadian publications in Search.
Canada isn’t the first government to push a publisher compensation law. The first was Australia, where in 2021 it passed the News Media Bargaining Code. It’s expected to bring in $130 million annually, with Australia’s Treasury already calling the law a success. Both Google and Meta resisted the Australian law before eventually coming to the negotiating table.
The California state legislature has also advanced a similar law last month requiring Big Tech giants to pay for linking to content, with Meta already threatening to pull news content if the law passes. US senators tried passing a similar law titled the Journalism Competition Preservation Act last year, but it ultimately failed to pass it through Congress. Although, lawmakers resurrected the legislation last month and hope to bring it to the floor for a vote.
Meta, parent company to Facebook, is beginning the process of blocking news in Canada, the company said in a blog post on Tuesday. Google also aims to block links to Canadian journalism later this year for people in Canada in response to a new law that forces technology companies to compensate publishers for linking articles.
With Australia passing a similar measure in 2021, more countries are looking toward compensatory legislation as news outlets continue to layoff journalists in record numbers while Silicon Valley giants rake in hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue.
As we face a potential standoff between lawmakers and journalists on one side and the gatekeepers of the internet on the other, here’s what you need to know about Canada’s Online News Act and how it might impact you.
What’s up with Google, Facebook and Canada?
The Online News Act, which goes into effect at the end of 2023, compels Google and Meta to compensate publishers when linking to news content. It’s part of an effort to inject news publishers with an infusion of cash after the internet revolution upended traditional revenue streams for outlets.
Previously, newspapers relied on subscriptions, advertising and classified sections to keep their newsrooms operational. But with the move to information online, subscription revenue dried up as people began searching news for free, and sites like Craigslist and eBay, rather than newspaper classified sections, were used to sell people’s goods.
Between 2008 and 2021, 450 Canadian news outlets have closed, according to Pablo Rodriguez, the minister of Canadian heritage. He says this has led to public mistrust and the rise of disinformation. At the moment, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is encouraging Canadians to visit its site directly to catch up on the latest news.