Trudeau criticises Facebook over news ban
Justin Trudeau has accused Facebook of putting “profits before people’s safety” after it blocked news amid devastating wildfires.
A Canadian law forced Facebook to share profit with news outlets, so it banned news on its platform.
The ban has impacted the ability of evacuees to share critical information.
According to Meta, Facebook’s parent company, the law has “fundamental flaws”.
In a televised news conference on Monday, the prime minister called Meta’s actions “inconceivable”.
Facebook and Instagram have blocked news in Canada since 1 August after the country’s parliament passed a law requiring platforms like Google and Meta to negotiate content deals with news publishers.
Since then, Meta has faced significant criticism from Canadian officials. In a post on social media on Saturday, Canadian heritage minister Pascale St-Onge said the company was blocking users’ access to “essential information.”
According to her, this is happening despite the fact that the law – dubbed Bill C-18 or the Online News Act – has not yet taken effect. Meta’s decision was described as “reckless” in an earlier post.
According to Meta, the law ignores how our platforms work and is fundamentally flawed.
To comply with the law, Meta told the BBC it must end access to news content.
For people living in evacuated areas, it has activated a “Safety Check” feature on its platform.
A spokesperson said users can mark themselves safe and access “reputable information, including content from government agencies”.
In the Northwest Territories, where a wildfire continues to rage 15 kilometers (9 miles) away from Yellowknife, evacuees say the news ban prevents them from sharing life-saving information.