Canadian news organizations will see a significant fall in search and social media traffic from July onward. The Online News Act, also known as Bill C-18, limits the ability of third-party platforms to display the content of Canadian news articles, without either guiding users to the news outlet for full information or otherwise paying a “link tax” as compensation. The purpose of this bill is to avoid having Google, Meta, and other outlets scrape content from news outlets, and displaying the entirety of those outlets’ work on third-party directories, without giving sufficient compensation. In response to the passing of this bill, near all major search engines and social media websites have simply stopped displaying Canadian news links.
Googles statement is as follows:
“The Government has not given us reason to believe that the regulatory process will be able to resolve structural issues with the legislation. As a result, we have informed the Government that we have made the difficult decision that when the law takes effect, we will be removing links to Canadian news from our Search, News, and Discover products and will no longer be able to operate Google News Showcase in Canada.”
Meta in a similar vein posted an update with its decision to terminate the availability of news content on Facebook and Instagram for users in Canada.
The lack of any and all news articles linking back to Canadian outlets will cause a significant drop in the rankings of those outlets. With Bill C-18 effecting any organization that employes 2 or more full-time journalists, Google and Meta consider the law all-encompassing, choosing to remove all Canadian News. This will spell trouble for news organizations online rankings but considering their content was copied and their leads effectively poached by these platforms prior to the bill’s passing, maybe this will seem a worthwhile trade.
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