Google Testing Blocking News Content For Canadian Users

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Google has been testing blocking news in Google Search on about 4% of Canadian users. Google said, “We’re briefly testing potential product responses to Bill C-18 that impact a very small percentage of Canadian users.”

I reported on this on Search Engine Land last week after Google sent me this statement:

We’re briefly testing potential product responses to Bill C-18 that impact a very small percentage of Canadian users. We run thousands of tests each year to assess any potential changes to Search. We’ve been fully transparent about our concern that C-18 is overly broad and, if unchanged, could impact products Canadians use and rely on every day. We remain committed to supporting a sustainable future for news in Canada and offering solutions that fix Bill C-18.

This is similar to what Google did in Australia in 2021, here is what that looked like:

click for full size

It is hard to know what this test looks like, I did ask Google for examples, but they did not provide them.

I did find these on Twitter, but I was not able to verify if this is the test or not:

I’m not sure if Google has officially started blocking news in Canada yet, but I haven’t been able to search news websites for over a week — both mobile and PC

— 𝘽𝙧𝙮𝙖𝙣 𝙋𝙖𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙛𝙞𝙪𝙢𝙚 (@BryanPassifiume) February 23, 2023

It seems to be specifically impacting Canadian news sites — here’s an account/incognito search for ‘Joe Biden’ (Incognito mode denoted with an ‘I’ and my missing Google account profile photo)

— 𝘽𝙧𝙮𝙖𝙣 𝙋𝙖𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙛𝙞𝙪𝙢𝙚 (@BryanPassifiume) February 23, 2023

This reminds me of this old tweet from Matt Cutts:

O, Canada.

— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) June 28, 2017

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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