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Canada's Prime Minister Slams Google, Meta Platforms for Using 'Bullying Tactics' Against Bill

CIO Insider Team | Thursday, 8 June, 2023
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Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed that Alphabet's Google and Meta Platforms are employing ‘bullying tactics’ to thwart a Canadian initiative to ensure financial support for news publishers.

The new legislation aims to push internet behemoths like Google and Facebook, owned by Meta, to reach business agreements and compensate content creators.

The ‘Online News Act,’ as it is known, contains measures that the US companies claim are unworkable for their industries.

Large publishers have warned a Senate committee looking into the legislation that Google and Meta blocking their content may cost them millions of dollars.

If the Act is signed into law in its current form, Google and Facebook have tested limiting some users' access to viewing or sharing news material in Canada.

The bill was approved by the House of Commons in Canada in December and is now before the unelected upper house of parliament, which almost never overturns legislation approved by the lower house.

The Canadian media sector wants more stringent regulations for digital firms to stop them from driving news organizations out of the online advertising market.

The two companies contend that news doesn't produce much cash for them and are thinking of completely discontinuing local news on their platforms.

According to Meta, news accounts for about three percent of the material on Facebook feeds, and according to Google, fewer than two percent of searches are related to news since people are more interested in recipes than articles.

A groundbreaking law passed in Australia in 2021 is identical to the measure, which was introduced in April 2022.

"The various internet giants like Meta are posting record profits every year while at the same time local independent news is struggling across this country," Trudeau said. "We will continue to make sure that these incredibly profitable corporations contribute to strengthening our democracy."

According to Google, the proposed regulations are stricter than those in Australia and Europe. Responding to Trudeau's comments, spokesperson Shay Purdy stated that the bill "has some serious problems that make it unworkable for our products and services".

Meta declared the bill's main flaws last week. According to the firm, news has little financial value for its platforms.

The Canadian media sector wants more stringent regulations for digital firms to stop them from driving news organizations out of the online advertising market.

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