Google to Remove Links to California News Sites

Google has temporarily removed links to certain California news websites to prove a point in response to a proposed California law known as the California Journalism Preservation Act. This proposed bill would require big tech companies, such as Google (who is a subsidiary of Alphabet, a.k.a. GOOGL), to pay news outlets for their content under certain circumstances. Google is not happy about this proposed bill and has announced this move of not showing the links to prove a point of requiring payment to be too much. The company released a formal statement on the matter, confirming that this will only serve as a test, affecting only a small group of California users. They stated that right now, they hope to show, “the impact of the legislation on our product experience.”

The bill first started making waves in California in March of 2023.

Nothing from the bill has been finalized into California law. The bill is still awaiting a hearing with California’s state Senate Judiciary Committee before any action, in terms of requiring payment for news content, would go into effect. If the bill were to pass, there would be a “journalism usage fee” for certain news sites that companies like Google and Meta would have to pay. So far, Google is the only company that would be affected that has spoken out and/or taken action.

The reason for the bill is that people are not consuming news in the same way as before and many traditional news outlets are becoming a thing of the past. The bill is seeking to prevent news from disappearing and entirely shifting to social media only. After Google and other tech companies have shifted in ways that would further harm the news outlets, using tools like A.I. to drive people to certain websites, the California state government wrote up the bill to prevent this.

The Senate President Pro-Tempore of the CA state senate’s office, Mike McGuire, called Google’s actions an act of bullying.

McGuire also called the action an “abuse of power,” arguing that Google is simply proving their point that they are able to control the news and what users see and that they are choosing the wrong techniques to do that. The push for this law stems from the fact that Google can control the news and then profit from the way in which they advertise it, but the originators of the work, a.k.a. the journalists and news publications, suffer without proper compensation. Now, many worry about the future of news consumption amidst this battle between the government and big tech companies.

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