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Google To Stop Blocking Canadian News Content

Alphabet (GOOGL), the parent company of search engine Google, has said that it will stop blocking Canadian news content following a test of its potential response to Ottawa’s controversial Online News Act.

Alphabet said it will cease blocking Canadian news content on its powerful Google search engine on March 16 following a five week trial that had limited access to news for Canadian users since February 9.

The technology giant said all types of news were impact by the test, including content from Canadian broadcast outlets and newspapers.

Alphabet had prevented some Canadians from seeing news links on both its Google search engine and on Android smartphones.

The Online News Act, known as Bill C-18, would charge technology companies such as Alphabet and Meta Platforms (META) for links to web pages that produce Canadian news content.

Alphabet and other online companies have has said they would prefer to pay Canadian media outlets through a monetary fund than be regulated by the federal government in Ottawa.

Federal officials have argued that the Online News Act will help cash starved Canadian media companies compete with tech companies such as Alphabet for advertising dollars.

For its part, Alphabet has said it already contributes to Canadian journalism as the traffic it sends to news sites helps publishers increase their readership and earn money from page views.

Alphabet’s stock is down 28% over the past year and currently trading at $90.63 U.S. per share.