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Google blocks CA News

Google blocks CA News


Google announced Friday that it has begun blocking news articles for some people in California.

In a show of power for Google as it seeks to scrap a long-fought proposal, articles from California-based news outlets are visible to an unspecified number of state residents who use Google to conduct web searches. become unable.

It's an approach Google has taken before in the face of laws forcing it to pay for journalism. Critics of the tech giant's heavy-handed tactics liken it to intimidation.

In California, the law in question would force tech companies like Google and Meta to pay publishers for news content.

Supporters say it would provide a lifeline to California news organizations that have long been facing layoffs.

But Google is resisting the bill, arguing that it would be “unworkable” to impose a so-called “link tax” on the company to connect Californians with news stories.

Google executive Jafar Zaidi said in a blog post that the pending bill, the California Journalism Protection Act, is the wrong approach to supporting journalism.

“If passed, the CJPA could result in significant changes in the services available to Californians and the traffic available to California publishers,” Zaidi wrote.

Zaidi said California's blackout of news stories was in anticipation of the bill's passage. He said the measure is temporary and will affect “a small portion of California users.”

Google and Meta have developed something of a strategy in response to efforts to get tech giants to provide financial support to the ailing news industry.

A Meta spokesperson did not respond to questions about whether Meta would also begin restricting California news. Mehta had previously promised to do so.

In Canada, Google threatened to remove all news links in the country following the passage of a law requiring news organizations to compensate for their content. However, Google reached an agreement with government officials before removing news articles. Meanwhile, Mehta continues to block Canadian news stories on Instagram and Facebook.

Canada's law was modeled after a similar law in Australia, where Meta blocked news articles before tense negotiations led to Meta and Google ultimately striking deals with news publishers.

California's bill would require Google and Meta to pay news companies if they sell ads in response to news stories.

Supporters of the bill say it would inject much-needed support into California's news industry at a time when publishers' subscription and advertising revenues are plummeting.

More than 20,000 media jobs were cut across the U.S. last year alone, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which tracks employment statistics. The number was the highest since 2020, when news organizations laid off about 30,000 employees during the pandemic.

According to Insider Intelligence, at least 70% of digital ad revenue is collected by Google and Meta.

The Justice Department has filed suit against Google over its control over digital advertising, with federal authorities alleging that Google has amassed such power in violation of U.S. competition law.

In California, supporters of the bill argue that Silicon Valley has a responsibility to pay news publishers for the astronomical profits they make by providing people with news stories.

Big tech companies aren't the only ones criticizing the move. Other skeptics said that if link display fees were applied to the rest of the internet, access to information would become harder and the “open web” would collapse.

Christina Warren, an outspoken advocate for software engineers, wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter) that paying for hyperlinks is “antithetical to the open web and everything it stands for.” “It's despicable,” he said.

Nevertheless, supporters of the bill are hopeful it will move forward and reach Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has not yet considered the bill.

“For more than a decade, tech giants have built a monopoly on digital advertising and siphoned revenue from news publishers, while on the backs of journalists they have built a monopoly on the world's most valuable… “We have built a company with a long history.'' Institute.

He said the bill is “not just a bill for the media industry, but an important step to protect California's public interest.”

LAist is funded by Google to provide news headlines for Google products such as Google News and Google Discover.

Have questions about Southern California?


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