Google Starts Removing Links to California News Websites in Response to Journalism Preservation Act

By Trisha Andrada

Apr 13, 2024 04:34 AM EDT

Google will start removing links to California news websites from some users' search results as part of a test for a bill that would obligate online ad firms to pay a fee for connecting state residents to news sources. 

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(Photo : Nathana Rebouças on Unsplash)

Google Removing California News Links From Search Results

Google's vice president of global news partnership, Jaffer Zaidi, announced the "short-term test" in a blog post on Friday.

Zaidi has criticized the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA), arguing that this is not the right approach to supporting journalism and would "create a level of business uncertainty that no company could accept."

The bill has been sitting in the state legislature since it was introduced last year. 

Read Also: 'No Tech For Apartheid:' Growing Number of Google Employees Quit Over Tech Giant's Association With Israel 

Google to Pause Further Investments in the 'California News Ecosystem'

Google also announced on Friday that it is "pausing further investments in the California news ecosystem, including new partnerships through Google News Showcase, our product and licensing program for news organizations, and planned expansions of the Google News Initiative," until the state's regulatory environment is clearer.

According to CNBC, Google's announcement marks the latest change in how major internet platforms handle news. Facebook parent company Meta has also been stepping away from the news business.

Last September, Meta announced it would "deprecate" its Facebook news tab in several European countries, including the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. In late February, Meta said it would do the same for news content in the United States and Australia.

Meta also restricted Canadians from sharing news on its apps last year in response to the Online News Act, which mandated that digital firms pay content fees to domestic media publishers. Recent events may have hit online publishers who rely on Facebook and Google for traffic.

"If passed, CJPA may result in significant changes to the services we can offer Californians and the traffic we can provide to California publishers," Zaidi noted.

Read More: Google Sued by Axel Springer, 31 Other Media Groups in Europe for $2.3 Billion Over Digital Ad Practices

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