Google has accelerated its push to fight legislation, currently passing through the Canadian Senate, that seeks to regulate online streaming platforms.
YouTube, which is owned by Google, has launched new pop-ups on its platforms to inform users about what they consider the harms of Bill C-11 in a campaign called “Keep YouTube Yours.”
“Your YouTube feed is uniquely yours. Bill C-11 could change that,” the pop-up reads.
Bill C-11 aims to update the Broadcasting Act to force streaming platforms like YouTube to promote Canadian content through increased regulatory powers for the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
In October, Google also published a blog post warning that the bill would require the company to manipulate its algorithms based on government orders.
“In its current form, Bill C-11 would require YouTube to manipulate these systems, and surface content according to the CRTC’s priorities, rather than the interests of Canadian users,” wrote the company.
“Put into practice, this means that when viewers come to the YouTube homepage, they’re served content that a Canadian Government regulator has prioritized, rather than content they are interested in.”
The federal government has confirmed as much with Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez telling the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications in November that the law empowers the government to ask platforms to promote or derank content.
“We’ve been told by many witnesses that if this is done or indirectly required it will have a negative impact on many Canadian creators so in light of that why wouldn’t you support an amendment on this when it comes to discoverability?” asked Conservative Senator Michael MacDonald.
“The CRTC can’t mandate user specific algorithms. What we want is outcomes,” replied Rodriguez.
“It’s up to the platform to decide how they do that. They may decide they’ll touch their algorithms but that would be their own decision. They could have playlists, they could have filters.”
Recently, the US government also waded into the conflict. After a recent meeting between US Trade Representative and Ambassador Katherine Tai and Canadian Minister of International Trade Mary Ng, Tai expressed concerns about the law.
“Ambassador Tai expressed concern about Canada’s proposed unilateral digital service tax and pending legislation in the Canadian Parliament that could impact digital streaming services and online news sharing and discriminate against U.S. businesses,” wrote Tai.