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MPs want to see Google in the hot seat for blocking news access to some Canadians

Google limiting news access on its search engine to small percentage of its Canadian users
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FILE - The Google logo displayed at their offices in Granary Square, in London on Nov. 1, 2018. Some members of Parliament want to see Google in the hot seat over the tech company’s move to temporary block news access to some of their Canadian users. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Alastair Grant

Some members of Parliament want to see Google in the hot seat over the tech company’s move to temporarily block news access to some of its Canadian users.

The House of Commons heritage committee is meeting today and members are expected to discuss whether to summon leadership from Google to testify.

Last week Google confirmed to The Canadian Press that it was limiting news access on its search engine to less than four per cent of its Canadian users.

Google says it’s a short-lived test in response to the Liberal government’s proposed Online News Act, which it opposes.

The bill would require digital giants such as Google and Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, to negotiate deals to compensate Canadian media companies for displaying or providing links to their news content.

The Liberal, New Democrat and Bloc Québécois committee members who called for the meeting say Google is trying to intimidate the Parliamentary process in Canada by “threatening to censor news on its platform.”

“Intimidation of this sort has become commonplace as tech giants push back against global accountability,” the six MPs wrote in a letter to the committee’s chair.

Larger media companies have praised the online news bill, saying it will create a level playing field with Google and Facebook, which compete with them for advertising dollars.

Tech companies and the Conservatives have pushed back against the bill, arguing it is the wrong approach to enhance journalism. Google has said it would rather pay Canadian media outlets through a monetary fund than be regulated by the government.

RELATED: Media advocate calls Google’s move to block news content disrespectful to Canadians





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