Canada has decided to take inspiration from the Australian legal book and now impose a link tax on Google search results; a decision with which the company is certainly not satisfied.
So, before we discuss Google’s reaction to this decision, let’s take a look back at what brought us here. A link tax is Canada’s way of saying the tech giant must start paying the country’s publishers for every piece of their content that appears in search results. Naturally, a multi-billion dollar company like Google, which could just as easily thrive being a multi-million dollar company, wants absolutely nothing to do with it. The company’s reaction mirrors that it showed when Australia began similar proceedings in 2021. The Australian government has looked at the online landscape and seen how social media platforms and tech companies are pulling profit from the hard work of authors and journalists without showing them even a penny for their efforts. Their response was to ensure that any such errors or omissions were fully corrected. The government forced Google and Meta (then Facebook) to start bifurcating what these writers and publishers were rightfully owed. Journalism isn’t exactly the fastest growing field as it is, there’s no need to steal more profits from their side.
Google’s reaction to the Australian government was relatively softer than that of Facebook, with Mark Zuckerberg actively threatening to cut off the entire country from all of its platforms. Australia decided that three social media platforms weren’t worth the cost of preventing its workers from earning a living wage and stuck to its values. Google spokespersons, meanwhile, simply disagreed with the motion and pointed out how valuable the exposure the reviews got from search results is. Yes, you read that right: one of the largest companies in the world, bar none, wanted journals to continue publishing content accessible through Google Search in exchange for exposure instead of paying for them. It’s the equivalent of a seventy-year-old grandfather telling his grandson to start showing up more and more in an unpaid internship because that’s how people get hired, apparently.
Google is taking a relatively new approach with the Canada link tax story, even though its sentiments are exactly the same. The company states that due to the fact that news is an ill-defined term, many people who do not earn money based on the content they have created should also be paid. Because, of course, rejecting such a resolution would be so much better than amending it, wouldn’t it?
Read next: Got a job interview coming up? This Google AI can help you practice09