Weekly Buzz: Google and Canada Strike a $100M Deal

Happy December! It’s time to kick off 2024’s final month with another digital news round-up.

Today, we’re chatting about the big news for Google and Canada’s Online News Act, TikTok’s fate in Montana, Threads finally making its way to Europe, and Friday Fun.

Let’s get started and see what all the buzz is about, shall we?

Canada and Google Seal a $100-Million Deal on the Online News Act

Big news in Canada this week — the Canadian government and Google have reached a deal on the controversial Online News Act. Ottawa agreed to cap Google’s yearly payments to media companies at $100 million when the legislation kicks in at year-end. This move comes after Google threatened to pull news from its platform earlier this year in response to Bill C-18.

The Act mandates compensation agreements between tech giants and news publishers, extending eligibility to broadcasters, French-language, and Indigenous news outlets. Draft regulations hinted at a higher sum, potentially $172 million, but Google pushed for $100 million, citing previous estimates from Canadian Heritage officials.

Canadian Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge hailed it as a “historic development,” emphasizing it’s a win for the government and local news publishers. She mentioned the possibility of revisiting regulations if better agreements emerge globally.

Google’s president of global affairs, Kent Walker, expressed gratitude for the productive discussions, addressing the company’s concerns. The deal allows Google to comply by contributing to a collective bargaining group serving as a media fund.

On the flip side, Meta (Facebook and Instagram) took a hardline approach, blocking all news content for Canadian users, citing compliance challenges.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed satisfaction with the Google deal and hoped Meta would eventually come around, criticizing Meta for neglecting democratic institutions.

News Media Canada supported the cap on Google’s payment, while Canadian broadcasters’ advocacy group Friends sought more support for journalism. Final regulations due mid-December will clarify concerns and determine CBC and Radio-Canada’s share of the $100 million.

Aside from financial contributions, Google commits to providing training, tools, and resources for Canadian news businesses. The deal will immediately change existing Google News Showcase agreements, part of a $1 billion global investment. Google plans to review ongoing investments in Canada after the final regulations are published.

Legal Victory for TikTok: US Judge Blocks ‘Unconstitutional’ Ban in Montana

Back in May, Montana became the first US to ban TikTok. A US judge has now halted the state’s ban on the popular video-sharing app, deeming it likely unconstitutional. District Judge Donald Molloy granted TikTok a preliminary injunction, asserting that the ban violates the First Amendment’s right to free speech and unfairly punishes TikTok without a trial.

Judge Molloy emphasized that the ban singles out TikTok based on concerns about data practices, even though numerous other sources collect similar data. He further noted that Montana failed to provide evidence supporting its claims that TikTok, as a subsidiary of ByteDance, poses a threat to national security and engages in espionage.

Molloy expressed skepticism about the state’s motives, stating that Montana’s legislature and Attorney General seemed more interested in targeting China’s role in TikTok than safeguarding consumers. TikTok applauded the judge’s decision, emphasizing the importance of Montanans being able to express themselves on the platform.

Senate Bill 419, signed into law earlier this year, was set to impose a $10,000 daily fine on TikTok for operating in Montana. However, the judge’s ruling relieves TikTok creators and users, making the app’s continued operation feasible in the state. The lawsuit against Montana was filed by TikTok shortly after the bill became law, with creators also challenging it on the same grounds. This decision is a win for TikTok and its community in Montana, ensuring they can continue enjoying the platform without facing hefty fines.

Meta’s Threads to Launch in Europe This Month

Hey, European social media enthusiasts – Meta’s Threads might soon reach your smartphones in December. Meta globally launched the app in July 2023 but has been conspicuously absent in Europe due to Meta’s tussle with the European Union over data privacy concerns.

This potential move comes as a response to Meta’s ongoing challenges with EU regulators, who aren’t thrilled about the company exporting user data outside the region for processing. If all goes according to plan, Threads will allow European users to hop on board, although with a slight twist — reports suggest users will have a consumption-only option without the ability to create posts.

Tech analyst Debra Aho Williamson predicts that Threads entering the EU market could increase 40 million monthly users in 2024. Currently boasting 73 million monthly users worldwide, Threads is gearing up to take on its chief competitor, Twitter, now known as X, with an estimated 336 million users.

Friday Fun

He’s right; it is a classic!

@itsgoneviral That is a classic role 😂 ( ARK Media )  #kidsoftiktok #classic #nativity #funny #christmastiktok ♬ original sound – It's Gone Viral
Line drawn peony from Spodek & Co Digital marketing site