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Google tells Canada it won’t pay “link tax,” will pull news links from search

The Google logo on a large sign at a tech fair.

Enlarge / A Google sign at the Viva Tech fair in Paris on June 15, 2023. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

In response to a new Canadian law requiring payments to news organizations, Google said it will remove links to Canadian news sources from Google Search and Google News for users who access the services in Canada. Google’s announcement yesterday followed a similar announcement by Meta that it will end news access on Facebook and Instagram.

The new law’s “duty to bargain” requires large search engines and social media services to negotiate payments with news businesses or groups of news businesses. The law requires mediation and then arbitration if negotiations don’t result in a deal. The law is expected to take effect in six months.

“We have now informed the Government that when the law takes effect, we unfortunately will have to remove links to Canadian news from our Search, News and Discover products in Canada, and that [bill] C-18 will also make it untenable for us to continue offering our Google News Showcase product in Canada,” Google President of Global Affairs Kent Walker wrote yesterday.

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