Links to California news sites for some users have been removed by Google

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(This bill) would up-end that model,” Jaffer Zaidi, Google’s vice president for global news partnerships, wrote in the blog post.
How much the companies would have to pay would be decided by a panel of three judges through an arbitration process.
California has lost more than 100 news organizations in the past decade, according to Democratic Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, the bill’s author.
“This is a bill about basic fairness — it’s about ensuring that platforms pay for the content they repurpose,” Wicks said.
Google’s search engine should be seen as “the largest newsstand on Earth,” Gingras said, where it helps connect users to news websites more than 24 billion times per month.
Google’s search engine holds an estimated 90% share of the market.
But in November, Google agreed to pay 100 million Canadian dollars ($74 million U.S. dollars) to the news industry.
A hearing on the changes that Google will have to make resulting from that verdict is also scheduled to occur next month.

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CALABASA, Calif. (AP) — Google started eliminating California news websites from some search results on Friday. This move served as a warning in case the state Legislature passed a bill mandating that the search engine giant compensate media companies for links to their content.

Google described the change as a “short-term test for a small percentage of users .” in a blog post that made the announcement on Friday. to assess how the law has affected our use of the product. The business announced that it will also put a stop to new investments in the California news sector, including its product licensing program and partnership initiative with news organizations.

We assist publishers of all sizes in expanding their readerships at no cost to them by assisting consumers in finding news stories. According to Google’s vice president for global news partnerships, Jaffer Zaidi, “this bill would upend that model.”.

With traditional media companies struggling to turn a profit in the digital age, journalism jobs have been rapidly disappearing. The bill seeks to stop this trend. In the U.S., over 2,500 newspapers have closed. S. as of 2005, the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University reports. The bill’s Democratic Assemblymember, Buffy Wicks, claims that over 100 news organizations have left California in the last ten years.

According to Wicks, “this is a bill about basic fairness—it’s about making sure platforms pay for the content they repurpose.”. In order to guarantee a better future for California journalists and make sure that democracy remains intact, we are dedicated to carrying on with our discussions with Google and all other relevant parties. “.

In spite of strong opposition and lobbying efforts from large tech companies, the bill was passed by the state Assembly last year with support from both parties. It would take a vote in the California Senate later this year to become law.

Opponents of the legislation, however, including Google, Meta, and some independent newsrooms, refer to it as a “link tax” that would further devastate local news organizations while primarily benefiting out-of-state newspaper chains and hedge funds. In a hearing held in December of last year, Richard Gingras, vice president of news at Google, also informed state lawmakers that the tech giant has already made a substantial contribution to the promotion of local journalism. He cited grants and training that Google will provide to nearly 1,000 local publications in 2023, among other initiatives.

Gingras referred to Google’s search engine as “the largest newsstand on Earth,” helping people find news websites over 24 billion times a month. Ninety percent of users reportedly use Google’s search engine.

He added, “This traffic in turn helps publishers make money by showing ads or attracting new subscribers.” According to estimates, a news website receives between five and seven cents for each click on a link from Google.

The tech giants are not new to using tech-related tactics to oppose legislation; Google’s decision to temporarily remove links to news websites is just one example. The business that owns Facebook and Instagram, Meta, reacted by preventing content from Canadian publishers from appearing on its websites in Canada after similar laws were passed in Australia and Canada to support journalism. Such threats were made by the company to the U. S. Congressmen from California and the previous year. Google had threatened to take similar action in Canada. However, Google consented to pay $100 million Canadian dollars ($74 million U.S. s. currency) to the media sector.

If Google removed all content from its search results, news publishers would suffer and might have to fire more journalists; however, analysts also believe that Google would lose money if there was no news content.

Representative for News Media Alliance and other news publishers, Brandon Kressin, an antitrust lawyer, told lawmakers in a December hearing that Google would be seriously hurting itself if it decided to stop using newspaper content. “To spite their own face, they would be chopping off their noses.”. “.

In addition to legal issues that may lead to rulings that undermine Google’s internet empire, political squabbling over the company’s dominant search engine has the potential to restrict access to different news sources.

In the largest antitrust trial in a quarter-century, attorneys for the United States filed a motion to suppress Google’s patents and innovation, citing the company’s misuse of its power to do so. s. Next month, the Justice Department will make its final arguments to a federal judge who will likely rule on the case later this year.

A federal jury determined that Google had created an illegal monopoly through its app store for smartphones running its Android software, restricting consumer choices and enriching the company through unjustly high commissions charged for in-app purchases. This conclusion came after another antitrust trial that concluded in December. Next month, there will be a hearing on the modifications that Google must make in light of that decision.

A $25 million multiyear program funded by the state and in collaboration with the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism aims to place 40 early-career journalists in local newsrooms each year as part of an effort by California to support local journalism. This year, lawmakers are also debating a different plan that would increase tax credits for community news organizations.

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Reporting for the Associated Press was done in San Francisco by Michael Liedtke.

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