Google on Thursday said that it will block links to Canadian news articles for people using its search engine and other services in the country.

This was after the North American country passed a law that will make technology companies pay publishers for their content.

Google said that the law has compelled it to pay “for simply showing links to news, something that everyone else does for free”.

Kent Walker, the President of Global Affairs at Google and its parent company Alphabet, said that the “unprecedented decision” would expose the technology giant to financial liability simply for facilitating access to news for residents of Canada from Canadian publishers.

“We have been saying for over a year that this is the wrong approach to supporting journalism in Canada and may result in significant changes to our products,” he said.

Last week, Canada’s parliament passed the Online News Act, making it compulsory for platforms like Google and Meta’s Facebook to negotiate deals with the country’s news providers. The law was introduced to help struggling news outlets get better compensation from technology companies.

“Digital platforms and social media are now the gateways where people find, read and share news,” the Canadian government had said last year. “Because of this, advertising revenues have shifted away from local news and journalists to these gatekeepers, who profit from the sharing and distribution of Canadian news content. In 2020, online advertising revenues in Canada reached $9.7 billion, with two companies taking in more than 80 percent of those revenues.”

However, after the country’s Parliament passed the bill, technology company Meta had called the law “fundamentally flawed” and said that it will block news articles by Canadian news outlets from Facebook, and Instagram in the country.

The development in Canada comes two years after Australia had passed a similar law in 2021. The law, New Media Bargaining Code, requires Google and Meta to pay for news content on their platforms. However, soon after the law was passed, Meta had briefly blocked Australian news content on its platform.

Technology firms have signed more than 30 deals with Australian media outlets compensating them for content that generated money for them, a report by the country’s Treasury Department said last year, reported Reuters.