Google has started blocking California news links appearing in its search engine results in anticipation of the pending California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA). 

The CJPA would require Google to pay news publishers for access to its links in search results. 

The proposed legislation was intended to create a fairer way of paying news publishers for access to their work, but in a recent blog post Google stated that it did not believe the CJPA would properly support news publishers. 

Google’s VP of global news partnerships Jaffer Zaidi wrote that the CJPA would favour “media conglomerates and hedge funds” rather than local news publishers and independent media. 

He stated that because of this, many of the news results promoted by the CJPA changes would be from “ghost papers” publishing low-quality media. 

Not only would this place smaller news publishers at a disadvantage, but Zaidi also wrote that the CJPA could limit the news results that Google’s consumers are able to find and read. 

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“If enacted, CJPA in its current form would create a level of business uncertainty that no company could accept,” wrote Zaidi. 

In preparation for this act passing, Google has already started to limit its links involving Californian news sources. 

Zaidi wrote that Google is urging Californian regulators to rethink the act. 

Zaidi also stated that Google was working to provide transparency to affected news publishers and that it had paused all future investments into California’s news ecosystem for the time being. 

While Zaidi acknowledged that more consumers were retrieving their news from online sources, he stated that only two percent of Google Search enquiries are news related. 

Google has been engaged in discussions with Californian regulators about the possible impacts of the CJPA and provide alternatives to the act. 

“A healthy news industry in California will require support from both the California government and a broad base of private companies,” Zaidi wrote. 

“This support should involve predictable, broad-based contributions, structured in ways that do not harm smaller, local publishers to benefit the largest players and hedge fund owners,” he concluded.