Google 'bullying' Canadians in blocking news content: media advocate – CP24
Mickey Djuric, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, February 23, 2023 4:36PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 23, 2023 5:28PM EST
OTTAWA – Advocates for the print and digital media industry are pushing back against Google, which they believe is bullying Canadians by limiting access to online news as part of a fight with Ottawa.
“Canadians are going see this as a foreign company that is bullying Canadians, and I don’t think that this is going to go over well,” said Paul Deegan, president for News Media Canada, which represents hundreds of publications across Canada.
Google confirmed on Wednesday that it is blocking access to online news for less than four per cent of its Canadian users, in what the company describes as short-lived test in response to the Liberal government’s Online News Act.
Bill C-18 would require digital giants such as Google and Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, to negotiate deals to compensate Canadian media companies for displaying or providing links to their news content.
Larger media companies have praised the bill as a way to create a level playing field against Google and Facebook, which compete with them for advertising dollars. Tech companies have pushed back against the bill, arguing it is the wrong approach to enhance journalism.
“Ad revenues that used to be the mainstay of local journalism, big tech now profits from that journalism, but hasn’t paid for it,” said Peter Julian, House leader for the New Democrats, on Thursday.
“The era where big tech can work with no social responsibility as part of their business plan is over.”
When Australia introduced a similar law in 2021, Meta temporarily blocked news from Facebook.
Meta has previously threatened to make that move in Canada, but the company said Thursday it has not made any changes to its services in this country “at this time.”
The company has said it does not make significant money from news content.
Deegan said he spoke with publishers in Australia who warned this could happen in Canada, too.
“The feedback we’ve had from the Australians is that Google will be involved in a lot of sabre-rattling prior to the act coming in. But once it’s the law of the land, they’re a responsible corporate citizen, and they behave,” said Deegan.
On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez had also suggested that Google was using intimidation.
“This didn’t work in Australia, and it won’t work here because Canadians won’t be intimidated. At the end of the day, all we’re asking the tech giants to do is compensate journalists when they use their work,” spokeswoman Laura Scaffidi said in a statement Wednesday.
Rodriguez has argued the bill will “enhance fairness” in the digital news marketplace by creating a framework and bargaining process for online behemoths to pay media outlets.
During Google’s test, affected users will see limited access to Canadian news.
The test is also affecting some Android users who use the Discover feature on their phone, which carries news and sports stories.
All types of news content are being affected by the test, which will run for about five weeks, the company said. That includes content created by Canadian broadcasters and newspapers.
The company said it runs thousands of tests each year to assess any potential changes to its search engine.
FRIENDS, which advocates for public broadcasting in Canada, said the move by Google shows why the government needs to regulate major tech companies.
“Google seems to have forgotten the old adage that with great power comes great responsibility. Instead of co-operating with lawmakers around the world to support and sustain the free press and democracy, Google continues to pursue financial ends at all costs,” said Marla Boltman, executive director of FRIENDS.
“This is not capitalism. It is greed.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2023.
Meta funds a limited number of fellowships that support emerging journalists at The Canadian Press.
Media Keep Stifling the Covid Debate – WSJ – The Wall Street Journal
We are delighted that you’d like to resume your subscription.
You will be charged
$ + tax
(if applicable) for The Wall Street Journal.
You may change your billing preferences at any time in the Customer Center or call
You will be notified in advance of any changes in rate or terms.
You may cancel your subscription at anytime by calling
Please click confirm to resume now.
Facebook users consume more fake news than users of Twitter, other social media sites: Study – CTV News
When it comes to election misinformation on social media, Facebook takes the cake, according to a new study which found heavy Facebook users were far more likely to consume fake news than Twitter or other social media sites.
The study, published earlier this month in the peer-reviewed journal Government Information Quarterly, found Facebook users read the most fake news about the 2020 U.S. presidential election and reported the most concern about votes not being counted properly.
They also found the biggest factor in whether a person reported being suspicious about the election results was their level of fake news consumption, not their method of casting their vote.
According to the study, a big part of the problem with relying on social media for news is that these sites have algorithms designed to keep you scrolling and engaged, meaning that they’re likely to keep serving you the same content you’re engaging with and make it harder to climb out of a disinformation hole once you are in it.
“What we saw in this study is that if you aren’t careful, the bias that you bring into your news consumption can be absolutely confirmed and supported if you are in a place like Facebook where the algorithms feed into that,” Robert Crossler, study co-author and an associate professor in the WSU Carson College of Business, said in a press release.
Those who got their news about the 2020 election primarily by navigating directly on a news website were less likely to consume fake news, the study found, and were more likely to believe that the election had unfolded the way it did.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s win in 2020 was accompanied with unproven allegations pushed by former U.S. President Donald Trump that the election had been stolen from him and that many votes for him had gone uncounted. Allegations of voter fraud with mail-in ballots and with Dominion voting machines were spread after the election, but none of these claims stood up in court, and few legal experts supported this position.
However, the lack of factual support didn’t stop the story from spreading widely on social media.
It’s not new that Facebook and other social media sites can be drivers of disinformation and fake news, but it’s trickier to measure how consuming fake news affects a person’s perception of reality.
In order to get a better understanding of this, the Washington State University-led study designed three surveys relating to how political alignment, fake news consumption and voting method each individually impacted a person’s perception of the election.
In the study, “fake news” was defined as articles and sites spreading disinformation that was provably incorrect, not articles or sites with information perceived to be false from a partisan standpoint.
The first two surveys were given to different groups of voters prior to the election, both containing hypothetical scenarios for participants to react to.
The first posited a scenario where the participant would either be voting in-person, through the mail or online. Once the participant had read the scenario of their voting method, they were asked questions about how concerned they were about votes being counted properly, and how much news they got from various news organizations.
The second survey gave the scenario of all voters needing to use mail-in ballots that would be counted either by a government official, a neutral party or by a voting machine. They were then asked again about their concerns regarding votes being counted and their news sources.
The third survey was presented to a group of actual voters after the election. Participants filled out what their voting method had been, and then answered the same questions presented in the previous two surveys. They then reported what percentage of their news they got from direct navigation, Twitter, Facebook, or other social media sites.
Researchers were surprised to find the voting method — whether people voted by mail or in-person — had no measurable impact on how likely participants were to be worried about votes not being counted properly.
Instead, the more a person reported receiving their news from social media, particularly Facebook, the more likely they were to be heavily concerned about votes not being counted.
This suggested to researchers that Facebook, more so than other social media sites, was elevating sources spreading these fears.
“I don’t think that Facebook is deliberately directing people towards fake news but something about how their algorithm is designed compared to other algorithms is actually moving people towards that type of content,” Stachofsky said. “It was surprising how hard it was to find the websites Facebook was directing people to when we looked for them in a web browser. The research shows that not all social media platforms are created equal when it comes to propagating intentionally misleading information.”
The study also found there was no age group more likely to read fake news, which is different from other studies, suggesting that there could be a higher proportion of younger adults consuming fake news than had been previously thought.
Authors noted that more research needs to be done to understand how disinformation spreads and how it can be combatted, particularly in a political climate where the partisan divide in the U.S. is increasing the distrust in mainstream media. They’re hoping that this study could spur social media sites to think more about how their algorithms impact their users.
“This supports the argument that people need to be encouraged to be information or news literate,” Crossler said. “Right now, we are talking about the elections, but there are a lot of other issues, such as the war in Ukraine, that directing people to misinformation is not only misleading but also potentially dangerous.”
2023 Media Layoff Tracker: Rough Year For Journalism Marked By Increasing Layoffs
Board members of the Texas Democracy Foundation reportedly voted to put the progressive Texas Observer on hiatus and lay off its 17-person staff following prolonged economic woes and shrinking readership, marking the latest in a brutal series of closures and layoffs rocking the media industry in 2023.
reportedly heard about the impending layoffs from a Texas Tribune article, writes a letter to the Foundation’s board asking them to reconsider the decision to close the paper and sets up an emergency GoFundMe page in a last ditch effort to find funding.The Texas Observer’s staff, who
cancels four podcasts—Invisibilia, Louder Than a Riot, Rough Translation and Everyone and Their Mom—and begins laying off 100 employees as part of a push to reduce a reported budget deficit of $30 million.NPR
tells Boston public radio.NPR affiliate New England Public Media announces it will lay off 17 employees—20% of its staff—by March 31 after facing “serious financial headwinds during the last three years,” New England Public Media management
lay off 34 people and close a printing press in Portsmouth, New Hampshire as part of Gannet’s efforts to reduce the number of operating presses and prioritize digital platforms.Sea Coast Media and Gannett, a media conglomerate with hundreds of papers and Sea Coast Media’s parent company,
told NPR.Three Alabama newspapers—The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times and the Press-Register—become fully digital publications and reportedly lay off 100 people following a prolonged decrease in print paper circulation, Alabama Media Group President Tom Bates
reportedly became too expensive to produce amid a declining audience—an unspecified number of people are laid off.New York public radio station WNYC cancels radio show The Takeaway after 15 years on air after the show
reportedly told investors following compounding declines in profit.News Corp, which owns the Wall Street Journal and HarperCollins publishers, among others, expects to lay off 1,250 people across all businesses by the end of 2023, Chief Executive Robert Thomson
stops publishing its video game and kids sections, leaving 20 people unemployed a little over a month after publisher Fred Ryan foreshadowed layoffs in 2023—executive editor Sally Buzbee reportedly tells employees the layoffs were geared toward staying competitive and no more are scheduled.The Washington Post
reportedly tells staff.Vox Media, which owns The Verge, SB Nation and New York Magazine, lays off 133 people—7% of the media conglomerate’s staff— in anticipation of a declining economy, chief executive Jim Bankoff
reports, mere months after Fandom acquired the four outlets, among others, for $55 million.Entertainment company and fan platform Fandom lays off less than 50 people at affiliated GameSpot, Giant Bomb, Metacritic and TV Guide, Variety
according to publisher and chief executive Steven Saslow—an undisclosed number of people are laid off and severance packages depend on signing a non-disclosure agreement, the Oregonian reports.The Medford, Oregon-based Mail Tribune shuts down their digital publication after hiring difficulties and declining advertising sales,
lay off 75 employees as part of a broader corporate reorganization.NBC News and MSNBC
closes a printing press in Greece, New York, as part of an increased focus on online journalism, resulting in the layoffs of 108 people.Gannett
lays off 50 employees at an Indiana printing press to “adapt to industry conditions,” a spokesperson told the Indiana Star—the press remains open and the layoffs aren’t expected to affect newspaper employees.Gannett
The video game industry’s annual trade show E3 is canceled again as organizers say they will ‘re-evaluate the future’ – Fortune
Pakistan's political heavyweights take their street battles to the courts — as a weary nation looks on – CNN
Raptors' Nick Nurse 'Gonna Take a Few Weeks to See Where I'm at' After Season Ends – Bleacher Report
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Search for life on Mars accelerates as new bodies of water found below planet’s surface
Sports18 hours ago
Edmonton Oilers deliver a statement performance in a 2-0 shutout of L.A.: Cult of Hockey Player Grade
Economy14 hours ago
UK economy avoids recession but businesses still wary
Art18 hours ago
The art of picking the perfect colour
Real eState18 hours ago
For resort town workers, housing scarcity is worsening
Health17 hours ago
High-risk places affected by respiratory outbreaks
Health7 hours ago
Staff reassigned to children’s ICU in Winnipeg, some surgeries postponed: Shared Health – Global News
News22 hours ago
Canada’s Climate Crisis: An In-Depth Look at the Current State and What’s Being Done to Combat It
Business16 hours ago
Why it matters that Canadian banks have dodged the deposit exodus plaguing some U.S. banks