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Google to Block Canadian News on its Platform, Following Facebook’s Lead

In a move that further escalates the battle against a new law requiring payments to local news publishers, Google announced on Thursday its intention to block Canadian news on its platform in Canada.




In a move that further escalates the battle against a new law requiring payments to local news publishers, Google announced on Thursday its intention to block Canadian news on its platform in Canada.

This decision comes shortly after Facebook-owner Meta Platforms Inc made a similar announcement last week, following the passage of Bill C-18, also known as the Online News Act, Investors King gathered.

The Canadian media industry has been pushing for stricter regulations on internet giants like Facebook and Google, in an effort to enable news organizations to recover financial losses incurred during the years when these platforms dominated the online advertising market.

Last year, Canada’s independent budgetary watchdog estimated that news businesses could potentially receive approximately C$330 million ($249 million) per year through mandated deals outlined in the legislation.

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, the bill’s proponent, stated that the platforms are not immediately obligated to comply with the act, and the government is open to consulting with them regarding regulatory and implementation processes.

However, Facebook and Google deemed the proposed regulations as unsustainable for their businesses and have repeatedly hinted at the possibility of discontinuing news availability in Canada unless the act was amended.

Despite the government’s resistance to making changes, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly criticized the tech companies in June, accusing them of employing “bullying tactics.”

Rodriguez echoed this sentiment, condemning Google’s decision to block Canadian news as an irresponsible and out-of-touch move, emphasizing that these tech giants prefer to spend money altering their platforms to restrict Canadians from accessing quality news instead of contributing their fair share to news organizations.

Kent Walker, Google’s president of global affairs, expressed the company’s belief that the law remains unworkable and the regulatory process will not resolve the “structural issues with the legislation.”

In a blog post, Walker announced that Google had informed the government of its decision to remove links to Canadian news from its Search, News, and Discover products in Canada once the law takes effect in approximately six months.

The specific news outlets affected by Google’s decision will be determined based on the government’s definition of “eligible news businesses” once final rules for implementation are established.

Additionally, Google will discontinue its News Showcase program in Canada, which includes agreements with 150 news publications across the country. Notably, Reuters has a contract with Google to produce News Showcase panels, including in Canada.

The Online News Act forces online platforms to engage in negotiations with news publishers and compensate them for their content.

A similar law passed in Australia in 2021 triggered threats from both Google and Facebook to limit their services, but they eventually reached agreements with Australian media companies after the legislation was amended.

Google has argued that Canada’s law is broader in scope compared to those in Australia and Europe, asserting that it places a monetary value on news story links displayed in search results and may apply to outlets that do not produce news.

The search engine giant had proposed an alternative approach, suggesting that payment be based on the display of news content rather than mere links, and that only businesses adhering to journalistic standards be eligible for compensation.

As the battle between tech giants and governments over news regulation continues to unfold, the Canadian media landscape faces an uncertain future with the potential consequences of Google and Facebook’s actions reverberating throughout the industry

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Behind Closed Doors: Microsoft’s Bid to Make Bing Apple’s Default Search Engine



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Insiders have disclosed that Microsoft Corp. engaged in discussions with Apple Inc. around 2020 about potentially selling its Bing search engine.

The proposed deal aimed to replace Google as the default search engine on Apple devices, particularly iPhones.

People familiar with the matter, who chose to remain anonymous, disclosed that high-level executives from Microsoft held exploratory talks with Eddy Cue, Apple’s services chief, responsible for the existing search engine partnership with Google.

Despite these discussions, the deal never progressed beyond preliminary stages. This revelation has gained renewed attention in light of the ongoing U.S. Department of Justice antitrust trial against Google, in which Apple and Microsoft are actively involved. The Justice Department is using Apple’s arrangement with Google as evidence of Google’s search market dominance.

Apple’s Eddy Cue defended the collaboration during his trial testimony, asserting that Google was the superior search option, emphasizing the quality of Google’s technology.

Apple’s partnership with Google, initiated in 2002, had grown to become highly lucrative, earning Apple between $4 billion to $7 billion annually by 2020.

This financial aspect, coupled with concerns about Bing’s competitiveness, played pivotal roles in Apple’s ultimate decision not to acquire Bing.

While Bing was briefly used as the default search engine in some Apple features between 2013 and 2017, including Siri and Spotlight, Google ultimately remained the preferred choice. In court, it was revealed that Microsoft had considered a multi-billion-dollar investment in its relationship with Apple in 2016, but this attempt was unsuccessful.

Eddy Cue’s testimony underscored Apple’s belief that Google’s search technology was unmatched, signaling that Apple had no plans to develop its own search tool.

This differs from Apple’s approach in other areas, where it competes directly with Google in mapping software, voice assistants, and operating systems.

In retrospect, Apple’s dalliance with Bing serves as a fascinating chapter in the tech giants’ intricate web of partnerships and rivalries.

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TikTok Faces Regulatory Storm in Indonesia as Minister Calls for E-commerce Split



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Teten Masduki, the Indonesian Minister of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises, has emerged as a vocal critic of the Chinese-owned social media giant TikTok.

Masduki’s relentless complaints about TikTok’s dominance in the Indonesian e-commerce market have set the stage for a seismic regulatory shift that could have far-reaching consequences.

Masduki, a former activist who once took on government corruption, has been disrupting official meetings to raise concerns about TikTok’s impact on local players. This groundswell of criticism has culminated in sweeping regulations that force TikTok to split payments from shopping in Indonesia, a move seen as a significant blow to TikTok’s e-commerce aspirations.

Under these new rules, social media companies in Indonesia are barred from handling direct payments for online purchases, effectively requiring TikTok to either create a separate app for payments or risk being shuttered in Indonesia entirely.

The regulations, stricter than anticipated, have already had a chilling effect on the e-commerce market, benefiting local champions like GoTo and Sea.

While TikTok has pushed back, arguing that the separation of social media and e-commerce hampers innovation, the Indonesian government remains firm in its stance, aiming to protect smaller enterprises and voters as elections loom on the horizon.

This clash underscores the challenges TikTok faces in its pursuit of e-commerce dominance and sets a precedent for other countries in the region. As TikTok’s meteoric rise in regional e-commerce continues, governments are increasingly assessing whether the platform benefits or harms domestic merchants.

For TikTok, the challenge lies in finding a solution that appeases authorities while allowing it to continue its growth. The repercussions of this battle in Indonesia could reverberate throughout Southeast Asia and beyond, shaping the future of social media-driven e-commerce.

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, Teten Masduki’s bold stance against TikTok may just be the opening salvo in a much larger struggle for control of the e-commerce arena.

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Meta Announces Upcoming Business Verification and Innovative Features for WhatsApp




Meta, the parent company of Facebook, on Tuesday announced plans to commence verification of businesses on WhatsApp.

Nikila Srinivasan, Meta’s Vice President of Business Messaging, shared the exciting news.

Meta’s aim is to bolster user trust through platform-granted verifications, signify the legitimacy of businesses and assure users of their authenticity.

To attain this coveted Meta verification, businesses must substantiate their credibility to Meta, reaping rewards such as a verified badge, enhanced account support, and safeguarding against impersonation.

Srinivasan further elaborated on the forthcoming features, stating, “For businesses interested in signing up, Meta Verified will offer additional premium features. These include the ability to create a customized WhatsApp page that can be easily discovered through web searches, as well as multi-device support, enabling multiple employees to efficiently respond to customer inquiries. We plan to initiate testing of Meta Verified with small businesses using the WhatsApp Business app before extending it to businesses on the WhatsApp Business Platform in the near future.”

In addition to the verification system, Meta also unveiled another exciting feature called “Flows.” This innovation will empower businesses to provide a comprehensive range of services without requiring users to leave the chat.

Srinivasan explained, “With Flows, businesses will have the capability to offer rich menus and customizable forms to cater to diverse user needs. We aim to make Flows available to businesses worldwide through the WhatsApp Business Platform in the coming weeks.”

This strategic move by Meta not only bolsters the credibility of businesses on WhatsApp but also introduces user-friendly features that are expected to enhance the overall user experience.

As Meta continues to invest in evolving its platforms, business owners and users alike can look forward to an increasingly innovative and secure WhatsApp environment.

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