Payment Law Prompts Google to Block California News Links

In response to a new law that would require online platforms to pay publishers for news summaries, Google announced it is undertaking a “short-term test” to block links to California-based news sources for some users in the state. The California Journalism Preservation Act, which was introduced in March 2023 and passed by the State Assembly last year, has yet to advance to a hearing by the State Senate Judiciary Committee. The still pending legislation would require digital services, including Google and Meta Platforms, to pay a “journalism usage fee” to certain outlets when their content is used alongside digital ads.

“Google, the search giant that brought in more than $73 billion in profit last year, is protesting a California bill that would require it and other platforms to pay media outlets,” writes Engadget, noting there are no details on “how large the test would be or how long it would last.”

Bill co-author, California State Senate President Pro-Tempore Mike McGuire, called Google’s move an “abuse of power,” writes CNN, which says “the legislation was introduced amid fears the companies’ news aggregation practices will siphon users away from news websites, which have sounded the alarm about how platforms have gained increasingly unfettered control over the content they allow users to see.”

In a blog post, Google VP of Global News Partnerships Jaffer Zaidi said the bill “would create a ‘link tax’ that would require Google to pay for simply connecting Californians to news articles,” amounting to “the wrong approach to supporting journalism” and creating “a level of business uncertainty that no company could accept.”

Engadget notes that “Meta pulled news from Facebook and Instagram in Canada after a similar law passed and has threatened to do the same in California.”

Meta “has been retreating from the news business, and said in September that it would ‘deprecate” its Facebook news tab in European countries … as ‘part of an ongoing effort to better align our investments to our products and services people value the most,’” CNBC points out.

No Comments Yet

You can be the first to comment!

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.