An open letter to Canadians.
On March 10, Google Canada appeared at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to discuss our approach to Bill C-18. Read our full testimony here.
You may have heard about the recent product tests Google is running in response to Bill C-18, legislation that if passed, would govern online news in Canada. We want to ensure Canadians understand these.
Google runs thousands of real-world tests every year as a way to understand new features and changes. The current tests explore potential impacts to Search and Discover results should Bill C-18 become law in its current form. For less than 4% of a random sampling of Canadian users, we are testing the impact of featuring varying amounts of news links in Search results. We haven’t made any decisions about product changes. We’re simply doing our due diligence in the most responsible way possible. Just as we’ve always done.
Google is one of the largest financial supporters of journalism in the world. Last year we linked to Canadian news publishers more than 3.6 billion times, helping them make money with ads and new subscriptions. This free traffic drove an estimated $250 million worth of value to Canadian publishers.
We share the government’s goal of having a healthy, innovative, and diverse news ecosystem for the digital age.
Through Google News Showcase we’ve signed agreements that support 150+ Canadian publications, paying them for curated content and to share articles that would otherwise be behind publisher paywalls. And Google News Initiative provides tools, training, and funding to help support Canadian news organizations, independent journalists and students to innovate and adapt.
We share the government’s goal of having a healthy, innovative, and diverse news ecosystem for the digital age. However, we do not believe that the current draft of Bill C-18 is the best path forward and have been transparent with the government about our concerns.
Bill C-18 puts a price on free links. When you put a price on linking to certain information, you no longer have a free and open web. Requiring payment based on linking encourages cheap clickbait, not quality journalism.
Google cares deeply about the future of journalism in Canada. We want Canadians to know that we’re committed to working constructively with the government on reasonable and balanced solutions to fix Bill C-18.