Last week, Reuters reported that Google is running tests to block news content for some users in Canada, to prepare for a potential response to the government's proposed online news bill (Bill C-18) that will force platforms like Google and Meta to pay news publishers for their content. Google informed that the test will impact a random sampling of less than 4% of its users in Canada and will “limit the visibility of Canadian and international news to varying degrees," the report stated. This test is expected to run for five weeks. Why does this matter: Many countries are considering making platforms like Google pay news publishers because Google takes snippets from news publishers and displays them on its News tab or on the Search screen, thus, limiting the number of users who actually visit the website of the news publishers. This, in turn, deprives the news publishers of ad revenue. But Google's test in Canada appears to be a warning from the company that regulations that require Google to pay can end up harming publishers and consumers if the company decides to not show news at all. In the past, Facebook has also warned of similar consequences. Google's test and Facebook's warning also might be an attempt to get Canadian lawmakers to the bargaining table to amend the Bill in their favour. "It is a shame that the Online News Act attempts to make Canada choose between full access to the whole Internet, and finding some way to support some news…
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