Front Burner

How the Google news blackout was avoided

Ottawa has reached a deal with Google over Bill C-18 and averted the tech giant’s threats of a Canadian news ban. But who’s the real winner here?
The Google logo on the company's homepage, arranged on an iPhone and a desktop computer in Sydney, Australia, on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. Google threatened to disable its search engine in Australia if it’s forced to pay local publishers for news, a dramatic escalation of a months-long standoff with the government. Photographer: David Gray/Bloomberg
Photographer: David Gray/Bloomberg (David Gray/Bloomberg)

On Wednesday, the federal government announced an agreement with Google over Bill C-18: The Online News Act. The tech giant had threatened to limit Canadians' access to news on its platforms — similar to the one Meta imposed.

Under the deal, Google will pay news companies $100 million annually. But is it enough? Who got the better deal? And what does it mean for the future of journalism in Canada? 

Alfred Hermida, a digital media scholar and professor at the UBC School of Journalism and the co-founder of The Conversation Canada, explains.

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