Google Blocks News Outlets In The US Over New Law

The recently proposed California Journalism Preservation Act says that digital advertisers such as Google and Facebook would have to pay news publishers whenever they use their articles or link to them.

This is a way to address the financial difficulties faced by news outlets due to declining print advertising revenue. Google’s VP of Global News Partnerships, Jaffer Zaidi, criticised the approach, stating, “CJPA would up-end our model that supports publishers at no cost and would favor large media conglomerates.”

The bill would mandate tech companies to pay for using news content, and funds from the fees would be reinvested into journalism jobs, with publishers required to invest at least 70% back into funding journalism roles.


How Are Tech Companies Reacting?

In response to the pending legislation, Google has initiated a test among a small percentage of California users, removing links to local news websites to assess the potential impacts of CJPA. This aims to gauge how such legislation might affect their services and the traffic they direct to California publishers.

Google and other tech companies argue that the bill could disadvantage smaller publishers and limit access to a diverse media ecosystem. “The uncapped financial exposure created by CJPA would be unworkable,” Zaidi added, referring to the business uncertainties the bill would introduce.

Meta has also threatened to remove news content from their platforms if the bill passes.



What Are The Arguments Against The Bill?

Major tech companies, among other critics, claim that the CJPA benefits larger media companies unfairly, hurting smaller, local news outlets. They are concerned that this might lead to more consolidation in the media sector, which would reduce the diversity and quality of the news.

This could potentially create more “ghost papers,” or news outlets that operate minimally to cut costs, thereby harming the local news industry.


What Are The Potential Outcomes?

If the CJPA becomes law, it might alter the online news distribution and revenue systems, especially in California. While the bill has received support for helping financially troubled news outlets, it has faced opposition for possibly reducing media diversity. While some argue the bill is necessary for journalism’s sustainability in California, others are concerned about its effects on open web access.


Looking Ahead, What’s Next For CJPA?

The future of the California Journalism Preservation Act remains uncertain as it continues to stir debate among lawmakers, tech companies, and media professionals. Google has expressed a willingness to find alternative solutions that support the news ecosystem without imposing a link tax.

With the continuation of this discussion, all parties are keenly watching to see if the bill will move forward in the legislative process and how it will shape the relationship between technology giants and the news industry.


What Alternatives Are Being Proposed?

In response to widespread criticism and the potential impact of the CJPA, Google has been actively engaging with stakeholders to propose alternative approaches that support the news industry without the implementation of a link tax. Jaffer Zaidi, VP of Global News Partnerships at Google, has spoke about the company’s goal and intention to supporting journalism through different means.

“We are looking at sustainable ways to support the news industry without disrupting the open web that benefits everyone,” said Zaidi. These discussions include possible models that do not disadvantage smaller news publishers or limit public access to a broad range of news.