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Google is removing some links to California-based news sites from its search results

Googles commitments to end data case

Google is once again taking action against a government's possible efforts to charge the company for posting links to news sites in its search results. This time, the target is not a country but a state in the US, California.

The state legislature is currently considering to vote on what's called the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA). If it passes the legislature and then signed into law by its governor Gavin Newson, it would require Google and other similar companies to pay a fee if they include ads next to news content. The bill was introduced in the state legislature in 2023.

In a post on Google's official blog, the company voiced its opposition to the bill, claiming it "would favor media conglomerates and hedge funds" and would hurt smaller news organizations. It added:

To prepare for possible CJPA implications, we are beginning a short-term test for a small percentage of California users. The testing process involves removing links to California news websites, potentially covered by CJPA, to measure the impact of the legislation on our product experience.

The company also stated it would pause funding for new California-based partners in its Google News Showcase, along with any expansion of the Google News Initiative in that state.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Danielle Coffey, president and CEO of News/Media Alliance, slammed Google for beginning to block access to some of California's news sites today, saying "Google removing news is undemocratic and antithetical to open access to information."

In June 2023, Google removed links to news sites in Canada in response to a similar law, the Online News Act, that was actually passed in that country. In November 2023, Google settled with Canada by agreeing to pay $100 million CAD per year (about $74 million US dollars) to comply with the country's law. At the time Google stated that Canada had also "agreed to a number of changes" in its law.

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