Google censors California News over ‘Journalism Usage Fee’

Californians may have found their Google results bereft of local news links Friday morning as the search giant escalates its fight against a landmark state bill aimed at forcing tech giants to pay online publishers.

Stories from California-based news organizations will not be available for an unspecified number of state residents who use Google to search the web, in a show of its might as Google attempts to quash a state proposal it has been fighting for years.

The California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA) would require large online platforms to pay a “journalism usage fee” for linking to news sites based in the Golden State. The bill cleared the California assembly in 2023. To become law, it would need to pass in the Senate before being signed by governor Gavin Newsom.

Supporters of the California bill say it will help news publishers receive a fair chunk of the ad profits reaped by tech juggernauts like Apple, Google and Meta. But some critics within the journalism industry worry the bill will foster a compensation ecosystem favoring larger, more-resourced newsrooms over their smaller counterparts.

The tech giant is also pausing new payments to publishers in California through its News Showcase, Google News Initiative and other product and licensing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *