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Google says news bills may help disseminate false information




Ottawa — Google, one of the web giants at the heart of the federal online news bill, said the law would reduce the quality of Canadian journalism and fear the spread of false information online. I am.

Bill C-18, also known as the Online News Act, forces large online platforms to share some of the revenue they earn from posting news content on their sites with the media that created the article. ..

In a blog post published Monday afternoon, tech companies too roughly outline which news companies are eligible to trade with online platforms with the current version of the bill, which is being read a second time in the House of Representatives. Claims to define.

“This means that more than one opinion or commentary blog may be eligible for funding, and even if it is known as a source of false information or publicity, it is foreign state-owned. It also means that your store may be eligible, “reads a post written by Sabrina Jeremiah, Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Google Canada.

“In other words, the bill forces Google to subsidize retailers that don’t comply with journalism standards, prospering and benefiting malicious individuals and those who forge false information. We will create a system that can obtain

The office of Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez rebelled against tech companies late Monday afternoon, saying the bill excludes media outlets that “promote the interests of the organization,” such as foreign national media.

“It is highly exaggerated to suggest that Russia’s state media is eligible,” spokesman Ashley Miknowski told the star.

“Despite a constructive conversation with Google, we’re withdrawing from the original playbook in Australia when Google tried to exaggerate its concerns and circumvent regulations,” Michnowski added.

The Canadian bill is based on the Australian News Media Negotiations Act. This is a law that Google initially considered “unfair.”

The tech company’s claim that the bill amplifies the proliferation of misleading content online is inconsistent with the government’s rationale behind the introduction of the C-18 in the first place, reviving the Canadian news industry. Among them, the countries that are requesting the bill as an opportunity to improve the information environment.

The bill targets the tech giants who dominate the digital advertising market. According to the federal government, more than 450 Canadian media were closed between 2008 and 2021, and in 2020 80% of online advertising revenue went to Google and Facebook. Much of the news industry, including the Toronto Star publisher Torstar, is urging Ottawa to deal with its market imbalances.

However, the law outlines certain eligibility criteria for the news business. A qualified retailer must be considered a qualified Canadian journalism organization (QCJO) under the Income Tax Act or meet four other criteria that ensure that it is a legitimate news agency. The criteria include creating news “mainly focused on reporting general concerns and current affairs”, hiring two or more journalists in Canada and working in Canada, sports and entertainment, etc. It involves creating news content that is not focused on a single topic.

According to Google, the bill could set a precedent that potential sources of false information could “insist on artificially raising the ranking” in search results on the site.

“We strive to prevent Canadians from encountering harmful content in Google searches, but some of the bills are” excessive preference “, not to mention what that means.” “Eligible news business” is prohibited. And that may mean holding us accountable for not showing spammers, foreign advertisers, and people who try to mislead or scam you. ” I am.

The minister’s secretariat said the bill never required Google to “remove or limit search results.”

Rodriguez said that “transparency,” in which businesses and platforms are eligible under the bill, is an important part of the proposed law.

Under the proposed law, it is up to the Canadian Radio and Television Communications Commission, not the government, to decide which news organizations are eligible to enter into arrangements with digital platforms.


Raisa Patel is a reporter covering the federal politics of Ottawa-based stars. Follow her on her Twitter: @R_SPatelSHARE:

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