Switch to Bing Says Senator, Despite Microsoft Not Paying for News

Canadian Senator Pierre Dalphond is making a call for Canadians to switch their search engine to Microsoft’s Bing, instead of using Google, in the wake of the federal government’s controversial Online News Act.

Also known as Bill C-18, the latter requires Meta and Google to set up financial agreements with Canadian news publishers in return for featuring links to their news websites. Google and Meta have responded to the bill by announcing it will remove links to Canadian news sites instead of negotiating deals.

This move has sparked Senator Dalphond to promote Bing as the preferred search tool for Canadians, encouraging a shift away from Google, reports PressProgress.

He stated his disapproval of what he sees as Google and Meta’s “bullying of Canadians”, echoing what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated. Dalphond believes that by Canadians moving their online activity to Bing, Google may be compelled to show more respect for the country.

On July 6, Dalphond tweeted, “Yesterday, I stopped using #Google as my search engine and switched to #MicrosoftBing. Let’s show Google that #blackmailingCanada does not work! #BillC18”. He linked to a paywalled news story from The Logic.

The irony? Microsoft’s Bing doesn’t pay for news or have any agreements in Canada, so the suggestion is puzzling.

Dalphond, a Senator from Quebec appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2018, praised Bing for its fair access to Canadian news content and its management’s respectful attitude towards Canada. He encouraged Canadians to demonstrate to big tech firms that their business model depends on active user participation.

Bing may not be required to pay for news under the new law, unlike Meta and Google. However, Dalphond clarified that if a large number of Canadians followed his lead and switched to Bing, causing it to meet the threshold, the act should then apply to Bing.

The shift towards Microsoft is already evident among some of Trudeau’s top staff, including Marlene Floyd, Microsoft Canada’s head of corporate affairs, and Kate Purchase, who now works in the office of Microsoft’s CEO.

Microsoft Canada remained vague about its steps to financially support journalism in Canada but expressed its intention to comply with applicable legislation. The company emphasized its support for a strong, independent news and media ecosystem.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will determine the list of search engines and social media companies obliged to pay for news under the Online News Act. According to the CRTC, the list doesn’t exist yet and would depend on upcoming regulations.

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