Google Starts Blocking Certain News Articles in California

( – Google has announced that it began blocking certain news articles in the state of California on Friday, April 12. California-based news providers will have their content blocked to an unspecified number of users in the state who search for news content in response to a new state bill which would force the megacorporation to pay for content it shows to users.

Critics are calling the move blackmail. It’s a strategy the company has used before when similar laws were being debated or enacted in other jurisdictions. The bill would force large social media companies like Google and Meta to pay for news content it offers to users of their websites. Supporters of the bill suggest it would help California’s struggling news industry which has been suffering job loss for years as the industry adapts to a slew of independent creators and organizations competing in the market.

Google officials have called the bill “a link tax” and called the creation of fees for link-sharing “unworkable.” Instead, they’ll block content from the service to avoid having to pay for it.

Google Executive Jaffer Zaidi suggested the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA) is the incorrect solution to the problem. He said that the blackout of articles from California providers to some California users was temporary and only impacts a small percent of overall users in the state, for now.

Meta has previously promised similar actions, and the behavior is becoming industry standard when governments attempt to tax large firms with new regulations. Google’s 2023 revenue came in north of $307 billion with the lion’s share being advertising revenue.

Google worked out a deal with Canadian authorities after a similar law passed there. Meta, however, blocks news in Canada on Instagram and Facebook.

Democrat Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks who sponsored the legislation in California highlighted that over 100 news companies have closed down in California in the last decade. She said that the bill was “about fairness” and making sure that companies “pay for content” they use to drive engagement on their platforms.

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