Google threatens nonprofit news partnerships if new bill passes

The $300 million Google News Initiative program may not expand in the future.

Google is threatening to pull its investment in nonprofit newsrooms if a new bill passes in California. 

Google opposes the new bill, Senate Bill 1327, because it would tax big tech companies for data extraction transactions. 


The backstory: Last month Google already came out saying it will not invest further in California news outlets, including its Google News Showcase and expanding its $300 million Google News Initiative program. 

  • That’s because of a bill introduced by Asm. Buffy Wicks (D–Oakland) last year, which would implement a tax to big tech companies for links to new stories. That tax would then go to fund media companies. 
  • In response to Wicks’ bill – the California Journalism Preservation Act – Google began removing news sites from search results in California. 

The big picture: SB 1327 was introduced by Sen. Steve Glazer (D–Orinda) in February and would tax digital ad transactions for big tech companies. 

  • Eligible nonprofit newsrooms would receive tax credits to hire more journalists through the tax revenue. 
  • Axios reported Tuesday that while Google only threatened to pull news investments in California, Google is saying that the bill threatens new grants nationwide by the Google News Initiative. 
  • However, any news outlets already receiving funding through the program should be secure, according to Axios. 
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